Instagram says it is looking at new ways to discourage users from focusing only on their appearance, after the Wall Street Journal revealed that Facebook researchers have repeatedly found that the photo-sharing platform is toxic to girls in puberty.
The article reported on Tuesday that Facebook (FB) researchers have been conducting studies for the past three years on how the application affects the millions of young users. Research shows that the platform can damage mental health and body image, especially in adolescents.
"We make body image issues worse for one in three teenage girls," said an in-house presentation by The Journal.
Karina Newton, head of public policy at Instagram, wrote in a statement posted on Tuesday that the article states that while Instagram can be a place where people have "negative experiences", application gives voice to marginalized people and helps friends and family stay connected.
Newton said Facebook's internal investigation demonstrated the company's commitment to "understanding the complex and difficult issues facing young people and helping them address them."
According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook researchers concluded that some of the adolescent mental health problems were related to Instagram and not social media in general, especially in terms of "social comparison". Then users compared everything in relation to other people on the platform (wealth, appearance, success).
The research has been reviewed by top Facebook executives, according to The Journal, and referred to a 2020 presentation made to the CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Newton said in a blog post on Tuesday that Instagram "is increasingly focusing on tackling negative social comparison and negative body image." One idea is to encourage them users post on different topics and do not display this type of content repeatedly.
Source of information: edition.cnn.com