Facebook has issued a response to recent allegations that it didn’t do enough about the deteriorating mental health of teen users on Instagram. In a lengthy blog post (via), the company said that the WSJ’s report has been taken out of context, adding that it is inaccurate.
In its post, the company alleges that the report cherry-picked the negative aspects of Facebook’s internal research on the matter. “Many teens we heard from feel that using Instagram helps them when they are struggling with the kinds of hard moments and issues teenagers have always faced,” FB said.
Facebook took the time to debunk each accusation put out by The Wall Street Journal. “On 11 of the 12 issues in the slide referenced by the Journal, such as eating issues, loneliness, anxiety and sadness, teenage girls who said they experienced these challenges were more likely to say that Instagram made these issues better vs. worse,” the company said.
The company’s rebuttal comes after the WSJ reported on an internal company presentation. A slide in this presentation showed that Instagram contributed to body image issues in one of three teenage girls surveyed.
Facebook’s Head of Global Safety will face Senators’ questions at a hearing on Sep 30
Facebook uses a Harvard survey and a number of interviews in an attempt to disprove the allegations. Moreover, it held that the positive effects of its platforms outweigh the negatives. Going a step further, it said that Instagram can actually help alleviate problems like anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.
Antigone Davis, Global Head of Safety at Facebook will face the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on September 30. Senators will question the executive on the basis of the WSJ report from a couple of weeks ago.
The platform hasn’t shared any other research on this subject apart from what the journal revealed. Facebook published a shorter rebuttal of the WSJ’s report on Sep 18. The company responded to some of the allegations at the time, including the handling of COVID-19 misinformation.
Although the company was also going to discuss a kids’ version of Instagram, that move is now on hold. A company spokesperson previously said that it would disable advertisements if there ever was a kids’ version of Instagram.
Only last week, we learned that Facebook overpaid on a $5 billion fine to the Federal Trade Commission to have its CEO Mark Zuckerberg excused from depositions or personal liability. The fines were part of the FTC’s Cambridge Analytica investigations.