The public has always been aware that Instagram is theoretically harmful to its users’ mental health, but a stinging The Wall Street Journal report revealed that Facebook, Inc., owner of Instagram, has concrete evidence  the service is especially damaging to its young target audience.

The report exposed the findings of internal research studies that Facebook has repeatedly refused to share with the public. Facebook’s decision to prioritize profit over the common good poses a threat to society at large.

In the age of a mental health epidemic, regulations must be established to eliminate the unsafe factors contributing to the crisis.

“We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls,” Facebook concluded, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Facebook’s research also found that Instagram harmed its male users.

“In the deep dive Facebook’s researchers conducted into mental health in 2019, they found that 14% of boys in the U.S. said Instagram made them feel worse about themselves. In their report on body image in 2020, Facebook’s researchers found that 40% of teen boys experience negative social comparison,” according to the report..

Both boys and girls experience body image issues that can be exacerbated by the unrealistic portrayal of the average Instagram user. This results in a lack of confidence and fosters a negative self-image that can range from discontent to depression.

When Instagram users look in the mirror, they expect to see the visual fabrication they are accustomed to seeing on the app. The unfiltered reality they are met with fosters feelings of inadequacy that are carried into their social interactions.

“Among teens who reported suicidal thoughts, 13% of British users and 6% of American users traced the desire to kill themselves to Instagram,” a Facebook presentation showed, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The internal reports defy past comments by Instagram head Adam Mosseri, in which he said that research he had seen suggested the app’s effects on teen well-being were likely “quite small.”   The findings also contradict Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s assertion at a congressional hearing in March.

“The research that we’ve seen is that using social apps to connect with other people can have positive mental-health benefits,”  Zuckerberg said.

These misleading statements were made to conceal the devastating effects …….

Source: https://theticker.org/4725/opinions/facebook-must-act-upon-its-apparent-harm-to-its-users-mental-health/

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