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Instagram is toxic for young teenagers according to a report by Facebook itself, who until now said otherwise in public

“32% of girls say that when they feel bad about their body, Instagram makes them feel worse“states an internal report called ‘The Facebook Files’, as described by the Wall Street Journal. This in-depth investigation of the social network corroborates something that many experts had previously warned, that the social network generates a major health problem, increases anxiety and makes you feel less valuable.

Despite repeated warnings about the negative impact of Instagram on many young women, to date the official stance and public speeches of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook executives such as Adam Mosseri, CEO of Instagram, had been to downplay the matter.

When Zuckerberg was asked in March 2021 about children and mental health, his response was “Using social apps to connect with other people can have mental health benefits.” A almost diametrically opposite answer to which his own internal report had concluded.

Facebook knows since 2019 the negative impact of Instagram on many girls

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According to the report, it has been concluded that “comparisons on Instagram can change the way young women see themselves.” This report was published on an internal dashboard in March 2020, but it is not the first to be released.

Already in 2019 a first internal study concluded that “We make body image problems worse in one in three teenage girls” and also that “teenagers blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression.”

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The impact goes further, as the report indicates that among adolescents who reported having suicidal thoughts, 13% of British users and 6% of Americans attributed the desire to commit suicide to Instagram. Considerably high percentages taking into account the extensive use of Instagram among the young population.

The response from the Instagram team

Before the publication of this report, from Instagram they have issued a statement trying to justify their position. They argue that continue to support the findings of that research and demonstrates your “commitment to understanding complex and difficult problems.”

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“At Instagram, we look at the benefits and risks of what we do. We are proud that our app can give a voice to those who have been marginalized, that it can help friends and family stay connected from all corners of the world, that it can promote social change, but we also know that it can be a place where people have negative experiences, “they point out from the social network.

Among the measures that have been added on Instagram to combat this negative impact is to hide the number of ‘likes’. One of the solutions they have found to avoid negative feelings and where they promise to keep exploring new features. An approach with many more nuances than the optimistic speech that Facebook has been communicating from the upper echelons of Facebook.

Imagen | Prateek Katyal