Social media giant Facebook has found that its Instagram app is harmful to a number of teenagers on multiple occasions.
According to internal Facebook documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal, Facebook has been studying how its Instagram photo-sharing app affects the mental health of its millions of young users for the last three years, and the firm’s researchers have repeatedly found that Instagram is toxic to a sizable percentage of them, particularly teenage girls.
“We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls,” said one slide from a 2019 presentation by researchers that was posted to Facebook’s internal message board and viewed by the WSJ.
According to one internal Facebook presentation, among teens who reported suicidal thoughts, 13% of British users and 6% of American users blamed Instagram.
According to Facebook, 14% of boys in the United States said Instagram made them feel bad about themselves.
“Thirty-two percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse,” the researchers reportedly wrote.
While Facebook concluded that a large percentage of teenagers are not negatively impacted by Instagram, the Journal reports that the features identified as the most harmful are part of the social media company’s core makeup.
According to the report, researchers warned that Instagram’s Explore page, which serves users curated posts from a variety of accounts, can lead users to potentially harmful content.
The app also has a culture of only posting the best pictures and moments, and it is a highly addictive product.
(With inputs from agencies)