Facebook repeatedly warned that Instagram is toxic for young girls

Facebook KNOWS Instagram is toxic for young girls: Leaked internal research reports reveal one in three girls blamed the app for body image issues getting worse and 6% said they wanted to kill themselves because of it

  • Internal research told Facebook in March 2020 that 32% of girls said Instagram made their body insecurities worse 
  • In 2019, one internal post on a message board at Facebook read: ‘We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls’
  • The research revealed that among suicidal teens, 13% of British and 6% of Americans said they blamed suicidal ideations on Instagram 
  • The social media giant doesn’t have any checks in place for age restrictions beyond asking the user to state their age 
  • It has an array of image-enhancing filters and features in almost all functions 
  • Photo-shopped images are not flagged as such but political posts or paid ads are

Facebook knows Instagram is toxic for young girls and has for at least two years but continues to add beauty-editing filters to the app, despite 6 percent of suicidal girls in America blaming it for their desire to kill themselves. 

Leaked research obtained by The Wall Street Journal and published on Tuesday reveals that since at least 2019, Facebook has been warned that Instagram harms young girls’ body image. 

One message posted on an internal message board in March 2020 said the app revealed that 32 percent of girls said Instagram made them feel worse about their bodies if they were already having insecurities.   

Another slide, from a 2019 presentation, said: ‘We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls.  

A file image of a young woman taking a selfie. Facebook has been warned for at least two years that Instagram has a negative effect on young women and girls, and makes some suicidal but the company is yet to address it 

‘Teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression. This reaction was unprompted and consistent across all groups.’ 

Another presentation found that among teens who felt suicidal, 13% of British users and 6% of American users traced their suicidal feelings to Instagram. 

The research not only reaffirms what has been publicly acknowledged for years – that Instagram can harm a person’s body image, especially if that person is young – but it confirms that Facebook management knew as much and was actively researching it. 

Facebook did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s inquiries about the research on Tuesday morning.  

The slides also revealed how younger users had moved away from Facebook to using Instagram. 

Forty percent of Instagram’s 1billion monthly users are under the age of 22 and just over half are female. 

CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been quiet in the past about the issues the app is blamed for causing among young girls. 

Instagram allows anyone over the age of 13 to join the site and it puts the onus for making sure content is safe on parents 

He told Congress in March 2021 that Instagram has ‘positive mental-health benefits’. 

Instagram has a ‘parental guide’ which teaches parents how to monitor their kids’ accounts by enabling features like screen time limits and who can comment on posts, but there’s no way to verify someone’s age before they join the site. 

Instagram claims it only accepts users aged 13 and over but says many lie about it when they join. 

Instagram also does not flag any photograph or image that may have been distorted or manipulated, despite flagging materials it deems to contain misinformation, political posts or paid advertising.  

The group of teens who said they were negatively impacted by the app were aged 13 and above.  

Zuckerberg even announced plans to launch a product for kids under the age of 13. 

He told Congress that it would be safe, answering ‘I believe the answer is yes’ when asked if the effects of how safe it would be would be studied.  

Facebook has not shared the research before. 

In August, when asked for information on how its products harmed young girls, it responded in a letter to Senators: ‘We are not aware of a consensus among studies or experts about how much screen time is “too much”.’ 

In the letter, the company also said it kept the research ‘confidential to promote frank and open dialogue and brainstorming internally.’ 

Yesterday, it emerged that Facebook also has a list of elite users who are exempt from its strict and ever-changing rules. 

As of last year, there were 5.8 million Facebook users covered by ‘XCheck’ – the program which exempts the users. 

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