Lawmakers scrutinize Facebook after revealing report on Instagram’s negative impact on teens


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At least five senators are seeking answers from Facebook

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Facebook is again receiving bipartisan criticism from lawmakers, with a report showing the tech giant is aware of Instagram’s negative impact on teen mental health.

Researchers tapped by the tech giant to examine the app’s impact on young users’ mental health over the past three years found that 32% of teen girls who “felt bad about their bodies” said Instagram had taken the issue with them. made worse, as per company documents obtained NS wall street journal.


Instagram’s head of public policy, Karina Newton, said in a blog post on Tuesday that it stands by its research on Instagram, which demonstrates the company’s “commitment to understanding the complex and difficult issues that young people can struggle with, and informs all actions” Instagram does “to help those facing these issues.”

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Now, at least five senators are seeking answers.

Censors Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Ten., — chair and ranking member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection — called on the tech giant on Tuesday to examine their knowledge of Instagram’s impact on teens. announced plans. , and in particular, teenage girls.

Senators to investigate Facebook after WSJ report on negative impact of Instagram on mental health

Blackburn told Granthshala News on Thursday about Facebook’s internal Instagram report, “Facebook knew it. They were watching. They were monitoring. But looking for that dollar and another dollar of profit, they did it that way.” Did it too.” “We have encouraged them not to market to children. We have encouraged them to restrict access and use to children [on] Some of these platforms are there, but they are hesitant to do so again because they are interested in profit.”

He said that because Facebook is aware of the issue, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Data Security is going to “ramp up… work on these issues of data security and privacy and online safety for children.” In particular, looking at the “overexposure to screen time” and “psychological effects” social media and gaming have on children.

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Blumenthal similarly said in a statement posted to his Twitter account on Tuesday that Facebook has known about Instagram’s impact on minors for years, “but removed the warnings from its own employees in favor of development at all costs.” had gone.”

“I’m shocked and concerned by Facebook targeting teens [with] Blumenthal tweeted, “Even though Facebook knows its platforms are doing lasting harm, they are racing at a brisk pace to push Instagram even on young children.” Through hearings and legislation, my Commerce Subcommittee will act to protect children and support parents against this dangerous and reckless ploy.”

On Wednesday, Democratic lawmakers Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Rep. Cathy Castor of Florida and Rep. Lori Trahan of Massachusetts sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking if he personally accepted Instagram’s findings about the app’s impact on teen girls. and if Facebook can provide an update on its efforts to make the platform safer for minors who are struggling.

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“Children and adolescents are uniquely vulnerable populations online, and these findings paint a clear and disastrous picture of Instagram as an app that poses significant threats to the well-being of young people. With social media becoming increasingly involved in children and adolescents life, we are deeply concerned that your company is failing in its obligation to protect young users and is yet to launch new platforms targeting children and adolescents. is not committed to stopping its plan,” the lawmakers wrote.

He said that “recently uncovered evidence published in the Wall Street Journal underscores Facebook’s responsibility to fundamentally change its approach to engaging with children and teens online. Abandoning your plan to launch a new version.”

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A 2019 slide on Instagram researchers’ presentation on Facebook, reviewed by the journal, said the app “makes body image issues worse for one in three teenage girls.”

According to the WSJ, “teenagers blame Instagram for increasing rates of anxiety and depression.” “This response was unpublished and consistent across all groups.”

Some users even attributed the time spent on the app to experiencing suicidal thoughts; The slide presentation, reviewed by the WSJ, stated that 6% of US users indicated a correlation between the two, compared to 13% of UK users.

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According to a Pew Research survey published in April, four in 10 Americans use Instagram, compared to seven in 10 Americans who use Facebook. The majority (81%) of young adult users aged 18 to 29 said they use Instagram.

The WSJ, citing documents from Facebook, reported that more than 40% of the app’s users are under the age of 22, and that nearly 22 million teens use the app every day. A 2018 Pew Research survey that Newton cited in her Tuesday blog post found that 81% of teens aged 13 to 17 found that social media in general makes them feel more connected while 26% said it Makes them feel insecure.

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