How many times have you doubted yourself after scrolling through perfect pictures of models or celebrities on Instagram?
Hating on your own body after seeing literally everyone looking their best selves is something that I go through a lot. So much so that I have uninstalled Instagram from my phone for a while so that my shaken confidence can recover a bit.
There are so many people like me who also go through the same thing. A lot of people are anyway body-conscious. This is especially true for teens, who are already going through so many body and hormonal changes.
Shoving an app in their faces that shows the pictures of perfect-looking people all day long only adds on to those self-image issues.
The worse part is that the owners of the social media giant have been aware of the application’s negative effects on people for a long time. But, they ignored their own findings and went ahead with it.
Documents Show That Facebook Knew Instagram Was Toxic
The Wall Street Journal got their hands on Facebook’s internal reports that showed that the company knew how toxic Instagram is for youngsters. The company has been well aware since 2019 that the social comparison on Instagram is worse than on any other platform, giving rise to mental health issues among its users.
Young girls face an increased pressure of looking a certain way on Instagram, often harming themselves in the process. When the results were not as expected, they even think of suicide. Facebook was aware of these implications but did nothing to address them.
1 out of 3 girls agreed that it made the negative feelings they had about their bodies worse. “Comparisons on Instagram can change how young women view and describe themselves,” mentioned the report. 14% of boys also felt the same way.
The company also found out that 13% of British teenagers and 6% of the American teenagers who struggle with suicidal thoughts trace the issue back to Instagram.
The Explore section of the app shows the pictures from accounts that the user doesn’t even follow. It can show content that may be harmful to them, warned the researchers.
The company has failed to create a platform that protects children from absorbing too much of unwanted content. The document was reviewed by top management of Facebook, including Mark Zuckerberg, but no stern action was taken to combat the situation knowing its repercussions full well.
“From our research, we’re starting to understand the types of content some people feel may contribute to negative social comparison, and we’re exploring ways to prompt them to look at different topics if they’re repeatedly looking at this type of content.
We’re cautiously optimistic that these nudges will help point people towards content that inspires and uplifts them, and to a larger extent, will shift the part of Instagram’s culture that focuses on how people look,” said Instagram’s head of public policy, Karina Newton after the report was made public.
The company is apparently also developing an Instagram for kids under 13. 40% of the total Instagram users belong to the age group of 22 or below. Teenagers constitute a major percentage of the app’s audience. Hence, it is crucial that the app actually doesn’t affect them negatively.
Image Sources: Twitter, Google Images
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This post is tagged under: instagram, facebook, mark zuckerberg, toxic, social media, filters, pictures, body conscious, body image, toxic positivity culture, beauty, beautiful girls, pretty, instagram filters, perfect body, ideal body, zero size, teen girls, body issues, toxicity on social media, suicide, depression, mental health problems