A report by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) is apparently making headlines, as it unveils Facebook documents that show just how toxic its subsidiary Instagram is for teen girls.
The report opens with an anecdote about one Anastasia Vlasova, who reportedly developed an eating disorder thanks to the time she spent on the social media platform. The eighteen year old has said that she had to undergo therapy for recovering from the damage that spending time on Instagram had caused.
What follows is a revelation about how Facebook’s researchers dealing with Instagram found some “serious problems” while studying the kind of experience that Vlasova, much like many other teens her age, go through.
Some Concerning Findings
One of the findings of the study, which was presented to Facebook’s internal message board last year, apparently says that Instagram (IG) makes thirty-two percent of teenage girls feel worse about their bodies when they’re already down.
In fact, it is said that Facebook has been carrying out its studies for the past three years, researchering on the effect its photo-sharing platform has on its younger user base spanning millions of teens. Most of these studies have found that IG is harmful for a major chunk of its users, especially teenage girls.
The summary from one such research, published internally as a slide in 2019, had shows how the company “makes body image issues worse” for one in every three girls. Another slide had claimed that Instagram is often blamed by teenagers for increases in the rates of anxiety and depression, something which is “unprotected and consistent” across the different groups studied.
Teenagers have also been found to report suicidal thoughts that could be attributed to the app. 13 percent of British IG users and 6 percent of Americans have said that the thoughts stem from their use of Instagram.
More Popular Than It’s Parent
These reports are quite concerning, seeing as how over 40 percent of Instagram’s user base are 22 years old and younger, with some 22 million teens logging onto IG every day in the US alone. As opposed to this, the company’s main platform, Facebook, has only 5 million youngsters log onto it every day.
The Mark Zuckerburg-led company has often refuted claims about the app’s negative effect on users, especially teens. As such, it remains to be seen what course of action Facebook will take, following these documents, which reveal just how toxic Instagram is for its teen users, public.