Senators to investigate Facebook after WSJ report on Instagram’s negative effect on mental health

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Censors Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Ten., plan to investigate the tech giant

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Senators are stepping up to investigate Facebook, following reports that he knows the company’s photo-sharing app Instagram has negative effects on teens’ 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.

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Now, censors Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Ten., — chair and ranking member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection — want to check on the tech giant on their knowledge of Instagram’s impact on teens. The plan is, and in particular, teenage girls.

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“Facebook knew this. They were watching. They were monitoring. But looking for that dollar and another dollar to profit, they did it anyway,” Blackburn told Granthshala News of Facebook’s internal Instagram report. “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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He added that Instagram isn’t the only problematic app among younger users. He added that Snapchat, TikTok, Tumblr and even online games pose risks to children’s privacy and mental health.

Blackburn, who has two children and three grandchildren, said he is “absolutely” worried about how social media will affect his grandchildren as they grow up.

“I guess we all do,” she said. “Talk to any pediatrician. They will tell you: If you are not worried, then you need to start reading and be concerned. And I believe that during the era of COVID, children are schooling at home and The parents are there to see and see. What exactly they were doing and the impact of it – the way teachers handled it – I think has had an impact on why people are so concerned about children’s online privacy. Why are you paying attention?”

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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 also 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.

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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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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Four out of 10 teens said they only post on social media to make other people look good, and more than half of teens surveyed said they “unfriended” or “unfollowed” other users because of bullying Is.

“We are proud that our app can give a voice to those who are marginalized, that it can help friends and families stay connected from all corners of the world, that it can inspire social change, but we We also know that it can be a place where people have negative experiences, as the Journal reported today,” Newton said in the blog post.

However, Blackburn said Facebook is working “forever” on issues of mental health and data privacy for minors, but “is not able to police itself or take action that is going to benefit the public writ at large”. are.”


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