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Facebook shares internal research into effects of Instagram on teens


Sarah Tew / CNET

Facebook published its internal research on Instagram’s impact on teens on Wednesday after a Wall Street Journal article earlier this month raised serious concerns about the photo-sharing app’s impact on health mental health of adolescent girls, including their body image.

The report, based on an “internal communications find” reviewed by the Journal, prompted U.S. lawmakers to pressure the world’s largest social network for more responses. The social media giant countered that the purpose of the report and its findings have been misunderstood.

The research, which Facebook announced on Monday it would release to Congress and the public in a few days, is split into two sets of heavily annotated PDFs added to each slide by Facebook for context.

“We added annotations to each slide that give more context, as this type of research is designed to inform internal conversations and the documents were created and used by people who understood the limits of the research,” said Facebook when posting the search.

Facebook research found that “one in five teenagers say Instagram makes them feel worse about themselves,” according to one of the slides released Wednesday.

The research also confirmed the Journal’s report, which found that Instagram makes body image problems worse for about one in three teenage girls. Research showed that 32.4% of teenage girls surveyed said they thought Instagram made body images worse, compared to 22.1% who said the app improved the issues.

The teens also said Instagram increased rates of anxiety and depression, the Journal reported, citing company documents.

The Journal reported on September 14 that Facebook researchers have conducted studies over the past three years and have found that Instagram is “harmful to a significant percentage” of young users, especially teenage girls. Facebook pushed back the report, saying in a blog post on Sunday that the purpose and results of its Instagram searches were misinterpreted.

On Thursday, Antigone Davis, global head of Facebook’s security, is due to testify before a Senate committee hearing that will examine “Facebook’s research on the impact of its applications on young audiences, its actions to deal with threats to these young people. users and policy considerations to protect children online. “

Amid the scrutiny, Facebook said on Monday it was on hold on the development of Instagram Kids, a dedicated service it is building for children, in order to spend time focusing on developing supervisory tools. parental. In a blog post, Instagram manager Adam Mosseri said he still thought setting up Instagram Kids was “the right thing to do,” but added that the company wanted to work with parents. , experts and policy makers to demonstrate the “value and need” of the service. .


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