Facebook grilled about the effects on children’s mental health

Posted on

Facebook defended the effectiveness of its products, saying that Instagram “helped young people affirmatively”.

His global security chief Antigone Davis testified before the US Senate on child protection.

It comes after a leak uncovered, as Instagram’s own research revealed, that the platform could affect the well-being of children.

Previously, Instagram boss Adam Mosseri said the app’s impact on teenage mental health was “pretty minor.”

The committee opened by repeating Facebook’s own research – first reported by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) – that found Instagram could have a negative impact on body image and self-esteem.

Teenagers “blame Instagram for increasing anxiety and depression,” it said.

But Ms. Davis then told the committee, “We’re doing this research to make our platform better, minimize the bad and maximize the good, and proactively identify where we can improve.

“We want our platforms to be a place for meaningful interactions with friends and family, and we can’t achieve that goal if people don’t feel safe.”

“Unsustainably criminal”

However, Richard Blumenthal, chairman of the Senate’s Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Data Security Subcommittee on Commerce, Science and Transport, pointed out that Facebook denied in August that it was aware of investigations that showed a negative link.

“We know that it prefers the growth of its products to the welfare of our children,” he said.

“And we now know that it is unreasonably negligent to protect them.

“It fails to hold itself accountable and the question that haunts me is how we or parents or anyone can trust Facebook.”

At the hearing, Ms. Davis repeatedly failed to answer the committee’s questions and said she should check with the relevant Facebook teams

Body image

Facebook denies coverage of the WSJ.

“It’s just not true that this research shows Instagram is ‘toxic’ to teenage girls,” research director Pratiti Raychoudhury wrote on a blog.

“Research has actually shown that many teenagers we’ve heard of believe that using Instagram will help them when they are grappling with the difficult moments and problems teenagers have always faced.”

But Facebook, which was posting slides to illustrate its research, admitted, “An exception was body image.”

One in three teenage girls who already had body image issues told Facebook via Instagram that they were feeling worse.

In particular, filtered images, posting selfies and viewing content with hashtags have an effect on well-being, suggest the slides.

Separate listening

It comes just days after the company suspended its proposed launch of Instagram Kids, which should launch this year for users under the age of 13.

“As every parent knows, when it comes to kids and tweens, they’re already online,” Ms. Davis told the committee.

“We believe it is better for parents to give tweens access to a version of Instagram designed for them, where parents can monitor and manage their experience – rather than letting them lie about their age to access the platform that t built for you. “

Ms. Davis said Instagram was also testing a feature called Take a Break, which would “encourage someone to take a break” from her screen.

This would indicate “when we think” [users] can be rabbit hole and certain types of content or be in the app for too long. “

The whistleblower who leaked the documents to the Wall Street Journal will testify in a separate hearing next week, and the committee said it will seek interviews from other social media outlets regarding mental health issues in children.

News Source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *