Facebook’s Own Research Finds Instagram Has Harmful Effects on Mental Health of Teens

Facebook’s internal research into Instagram has reportedly raised serious concerns about the photo-sharing app’s impact on the mental health of teens.

In studies conducted over the past three years, Facebook researchers have found that Instagram is “harmful for a sizable percentage” of young users, particularly teenage girls, reported The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. Research presented in 2019 reportedly found that Instagram makes body image issue worse for one in three teen girls. Teens also said Instagram increased rates of anxiety and depression, reported the Journal, citing internal company documents.

On Tuesday, Instagram, which is  owned by Facebook, said it stands by its research to understand young people’s experiences on the app.

“The question on many people’s minds is if social media is good or bad for people,” wrote Karina Newton, head of public policy at Instagram, in a blog post. “The research on this is mixed; it can be both. At Instagram, we look at the benefits and the risks of what we do.”

Newton added that Instagram has done “extensive work around bullying, suicide and self-injury, and eating disorders” to make the app a safe place for everyone. The company is also focused on addressing negative social comparison and body image, said Newton, and is developing ways to “jump in if we see people dwelling on certain types of content.”

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SOURCE: SF Gate; Cnet, Carrie Mihalcik