Facebook Knows Instagram is Harmful


The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Facebook is aware that Instagram is harmful to young users.

Kathia Hernandez, Staff Writer

Facebook knows that Instagram is harmful to young people’s mental health according to a Wall Street Journal report. The report, released in September, contains leaked internal research which found the site can cause young users to feel bad about their self-image.

“Thirty-two percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse,” according to a slide presentation provided to Facebook’s internal messaging board in March 2020, which was accessed by The Wall Street Journal. “Comparisons on Instagram can change how young women view and describe themselves.”

Joanna Lopez, a high school student, says that she believes that Instagram is harmful to teens. She says that older people shame the younger. 

“Social Media, in general, creates body image issues for younger teens,” Lopez says. “Teens see people who they think are perfect and then the teens think they have to look like the person”. 

Based on one presentation, 13 percent of British users and six percent of American users who expressed suicidal thoughts blamed Instagram for their mental health issues. 

According to internal presentations on the subject, Facebook executives have tried to discover solutions to limit Instagram’s harm while retaining users on the website.

According to the Journal, top officials have studied the data, which was highlighted in a presentation delivered to CEO Mark Zuckerberg last year. Despite this, Facebook is said to be struggling to handle the problem while keeping users interested and returning. Facebook is also developing an Instagram version for children under the age of 13.

Not only is Instagram harmful to young girls, but it’s also harmful to young boys. Facebook’s research conducted in 2019, proves that 14 percent of boys in the U.S. are impacted by Instagram negatively. 

In 2020, Facebook researchers did a report on body issues; they found that 40 percent of teenage boys experience negative social comparison.

“I just feel on edge a lot of the time,” a teen boy told Facebook’s researchers. “It’s like you can be called out for anything you do. One wrong move. One wrong step”.

Although Instagram affects all these teens in a negative way, they do not want Instagram to disappear. 

“I believe Instagram is extremely bad for younger teens’ mental health,” Lopez says. “But I still use it on a daily and I can’t imagine it gone, I know other teens agree,”