Instagram plans to encourage its users not only to view content that promotes the archetype of the slim and athletic female body, after a damning Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article appeared on the social network’s impact on mental and physical health. of adolescent girls.
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“We are working more and more on the comparisons (of his body with that of others, editor’s note) and the negative image of the body,” the Facebook application, which is very popular with young people, said on Tuesday.
The platform says it is thinking of ways to react “when we see that people are concentrating on certain types of images,” in a statement released in response to an investigation by the US business newspaper.
According to the WSJ, the network is aware of the problem through its own research, but minimizes its influence on the psychology of the tens of millions of young people who connect to the Internet every day.
“We worsened the relationship with their body of one in three adolescents,” noted an Instagram slide, broadcast during an internal meeting in 2019, according to the article.
“Teens accuse Instagram of increasing levels of anxiety and depression,” said another, summarizing a study of girls with this type of problem.
“The article focuses on the findings of limited studies and puts them in a bad position,” responded Karina Newton, director of public regulations for Instagram. But this research shows “our commitment to understanding these complex issues.”
He also points out that social media is neither good nor bad in and of itself, that its influence varies from day to day, and that it inevitably contains the social problems that exist in real life.
She hopes that a possible incentive system for viewing content that “inspires and excites” young users can help “change that part of Instagram culture that is all about looks.”
Many authorities and associations have been warning for years about the dangers for young people posed by Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, etc.
“Research shows a correlation between social media use and + increased psychological distress and suicidal behaviors among youth,” argued prosecutors from 44 US states in a letter sent to Mark Zuckerberg last May. founder of Facebook.
They cited studies showing the harms of constant comparison to peers, such as eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia), and asked the boss to drop the plan to create a version of Instagram for children under 13.