They cite that the app affects the mental health of teenage users.
Lawmakers demand that Facebook abandon its Instagram for Kids as it affects teens’ and children’s mental health. This was after a Wall Street Journal report was released on Tuesday.
Internal Studies at Facebook
Wall Street Journal reported that it found studies at Facebook determining that the Instagram social network negatively affects teenage girls.
The report cited the studies over the past three years. They examined how the app affects young users. What’s most intriguing is that teenage girls are most harmed.
The researchers found that when teenage girls felt bad about their bodies, the app made them feel worse. It’s also true with boys. That is, they feel worse about themselves when they use the app.
Facebook researchers concluded that the majority of teenagers are not harmed by the app. However, the features that appeared to be the most harmful are parts of the app’s key makeup.
Researchers warned that the app’s Explore page can encourage users to look into posts that can be harmful to them. Furthermore, the app’s algorithm allows the app to post only the best moments and pictures. But it can be addicting.
The company’s executives reviewed the research. But the company couldn’t fix the problem. And now, Facebook is building Instagram for kids, designed for children under age 13.
Democrat representatives sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg about the app’s plans to introduce Instagram for Kids. The letter cited the CEO’s testimony at a hearing. Mark claimed that the research is not conclusive.
The letter wrote that children and teens are vulnerable people. The findings paint a picture of the app posing threats to younger people’s wellbeing.
The lawmakers are convinced that Facebook failed to protect young users. Furthermore, the app has not committed to stopping its plans to launch Instagram for Kids.
The lawmakers asked the CEO to abandon plans for such an app. They also asked if Mark reviewed the research on users’ mental health.
Lawmakers criticized the company’s plans since Buzzfeed revealed the Instagram Youth project. Child safety groups and attorneys general called on the company to stop the project.
But Zuckerberg and other executives defended the app saying that kids under 13 are already using the app. In that case, it’s better to make a version of it designed for them but with parental controls.
The company is looking for ways to prevent users from seeing content that fixates on body image-focused posts. But it hasn’t done enough to resolve the issue.
“Many said Instagram makes things better or has no effect, but some, particularly those who were already feeling down, said Instagram may make things worse. In the research world, this isn’t surprising or unexpected. Issues like negative social comparison and anxiety exist in the world, so they’re going to exist on social media too. That doesn’t change the fact that we take these findings seriously, and we set up a specific effort to respond to this research and change Instagram for the better.”