Facebook Knows Instagram Is Toxic for Teen Girls, Company Documents Show

 
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DuncanIdaho
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 12:06 pm    Post subject: Facebook Knows Instagram Is Toxic for Teen Girls, Company Documents Show

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Facebook Knows Instagram Is Toxic for Teen Girls, Company Documents Show

About a year ago, teenager Anastasia Vlasova started seeing a therapist. She had developed an eating disorder, and had a clear idea of what led to it: her time on Instagram.

She joined the platform at 13, and eventually was spending three hours a day entranced by the seemingly perfect lives and bodies of the fitness influencers who posted on the app.

“When I went on Instagram, all I saw were images of chiseled bodies, perfect abs and women doing 100 burpees in 10 minutes,” said Ms. Vlasova, now 18, who lives in Reston, Va.

Around that time, researchers inside Instagram, which is owned by Facebook Inc., were studying this kind of experience and asking whether it was part of a broader phenomenon. Their findings confirmed some serious problems.

“Thirty-two percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse,” the researchers said in a March 2020 slide presentation posted to Facebook’s internal message board, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. “Comparisons on Instagram can change how young women view and describe themselves.”

For the past three years, Facebook has been conducting studies into how its photo-sharing app affects its millions of young users. Repeatedly, the company’s researchers found that Instagram is harmful for a sizable percentage of them, most notably teenage girls.

“We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls,” said one slide from 2019, summarizing research about teen girls who experience the issues.

[...]

In public, Facebook has consistently played down the app’s negative effects on teens, and hasn’t made its research public or available to academics or lawmakers who have asked for it.

“The research that we’ve seen is that using social apps to connect with other people can have positive mental-health benefits,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at a congressional hearing in March 2021 when asked about children and mental health.

In May, Instagram head Adam Mosseri told reporters that research he had seen suggests the app’s effects on teen well-being is likely “quite small.”

[...]

At a congressional hearing this March, Mr. Zuckerberg defended the company against criticism from lawmakers about plans to create a new Instagram product for children under 13. When asked if the company had studied the app’s effects on children, he said “I believe the answer is yes.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-knows-instagram-is-toxic-for-teen-girls-company-documents-show-11631620739

https://archive.is/egPlc (avoid paywall)


It's a long read, but well worth it. The comparison between Facebook/Instagram and R.J. Reynolds is apt.

Facebook needs to be burned (regulated) into the ground.
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audioaxes
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2021 10:47 am    Post subject:

As the dad of a teen daughter I see this first hand. Now not only are teens competing with the local social circles at their schools, they are comparing themselves to these "influencers" on social media who are showing an unrealistic standard.
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ContagiousInspiration
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2021 12:04 pm    Post subject:

Our Government will allow Diabetics to be terrorized for $$$ they don't give a (bleep) about protecting teens if it means harming a Billion dollar company
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2021 7:30 am    Post subject:

Shocking.....next we will discover that Twitter has became a playground for miserable middle aged adults.
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DuncanIdaho
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2021 11:18 am    Post subject:

WSJ on a warpath

Quote:
Facebook Tried to Make Its Platform a Healthier Place. It Got Angrier Instead.

Internal memos show how a big 2018 change rewarded outrage and that CEO Mark Zuckerberg resisted proposed fixes

In the fall of 2018, Jonah Peretti, chief executive of online publisher BuzzFeed, emailed a top official at Facebook Inc. The most divisive content that publishers produced was going viral on the platform, he said, creating an incentive to produce more of it.

He pointed to the success of a BuzzFeed post titled “21 Things That Almost All White People are Guilty of Saying,” which received 13,000 shares and 16,000 comments on Facebook, many from people criticizing BuzzFeed for writing it, and arguing with each other about race. Other content the company produced, from news videos to articles on self-care and animals, had trouble breaking through, he said.

Mr. Peretti blamed a major overhaul Facebook had given to its News Feed algorithm earlier that year to boost “meaningful social interactions,” or MSI, between friends and family, according to internal Facebook documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal that quote the email.

BuzzFeed built its business on making content that would go viral on Facebook and other social media, so it had a vested interest in any algorithm changes that hurt its distribution. Still, Mr. Peretti’s email touched a nerve.

Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, said the aim of the algorithm change was to strengthen bonds between users and to improve their well-being. Facebook would encourage people to interact more with friends and family and spend less time passively consuming professionally produced content, which research suggested was harmful to their mental health.
Within the company, though, staffers warned the change was having the opposite effect, the documents show. It was making Facebook’s platform an angrier place.

Company researchers discovered that publishers and political parties were reorienting their posts toward outrage and sensationalism. That tactic produced high levels of comments and reactions that translated into success on Facebook.

“Our approach has had unhealthy side effects on important slices of public content, such as politics and news,” wrote a team of data scientists, flagging Mr. Peretti’s complaints, in a memo reviewed by the Journal. “This is an increasing liability,” one of them wrote in a later memo.

They concluded that the new algorithm’s heavy weighting of reshared material in its News Feed made the angry voices louder. “Misinformation, toxicity, and violent content are inordinately prevalent among reshares,” researchers noted in internal memos.

Some political parties in Europe told Facebook the algorithm had made them shift their policy positions so they resonated more on the platform, according to the documents.

“Many parties, including those that have shifted to the negative, worry about the long term effects on democracy,” read one internal Facebook report, which didn’t name specific parties.

[...]

Data scientists on that integrity team—whose job is to improve the quality and trustworthiness of content on the platform—worked on a number of potential changes to curb the tendency of the overhauled algorithm to reward outrage and lies. Mr. Zuckerberg resisted some of the proposed fixes, the documents show, because he was worried they might hurt the company’s other objective—making users engage more with Facebook.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-algorithm-change-zuckerberg-11631654215

https://archive.md/GQFLq (no paywall)
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Black20Ice
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2021 11:59 am    Post subject:

NetFlix's The Social Dilemma

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mqR_e2seeM
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Dortotto
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2021 11:53 pm    Post subject:

Being active on social media I can say that the app doesn't harm directly teenagers but the ads do.
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Halflife
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 8:11 pm    Post subject:

Black20Ice wrote:
NetFlix's The Social Dilemma

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mqR_e2seeM


Says something when the people who created it, don’t let their kids use it.
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