Instagram is working to protect teenagers from mental harm.
Instagram defended itself against a report that the social media platform is harming the mental health of young girls on Tuesday, saying it plans to remove posts that promote illusions about attractive bodies.
Karina Newton, Instagram’s head of public policy, pushed back against a Wall Street Journal piece citing Facebook research as evidence that the photo-centric Instagram service is harmful to youngsters, particularly girls.
“Research on the effects of social media on people’s well-being is mixed, and our own research echoes that of others,” Newton wrote in the essay.
“What appears to matter most is how people use social media and how they utilize it in their state of mind.”
She highlighted a Harvard research that found a “see-saw” of positive and negative social media experiences among US youths.
On one day, a teenager may like connecting with friends on social media, but on another day, he or she may clash with the same individual.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Instagram has downplayed the harm it has caused to millions of young people who use the platform on a regular basis, particularly when it comes to feelings of shame about their bodies as a result of seeing what is marketed as beautiful in photos on the platform.
“Issues like negative social comparison and anxiety exist in the real world, and they will exist on social media as well,” Newton explained.
According to the Journal, internal research found that youngsters blamed Instagram for their worry and sadness.
According to Newton, Instagram has attempted to address issues such as bullying, suicide, self-injury, and eating disorders that have been disclosed on the network.
According to Newton, Instagram is currently looking at ways to figure out what kinds of posts make people feel awful and then “nudge” them to content that will make them feel better.
Newton explained, “We’re increasingly focused on tackling negative social comparison and poor body image.”
“We’re cautiously optimistic that these nudges will help people find content that inspires and uplifts them, and, to a larger extent, will transform the part of Instagram’s culture that focuses on how individuals look,” says the company.
Instagram is developing a version of the social network for youngsters aged 13 and under, a move that child safety advocates oppose.