This is Facebook’s internal research on the mental health effects of Instagram
Facebook shares internal research into the impact of Instagram on adolescent mental health, reported by wall street journal earlier this month. wall street journal reported that the files show that Instagram was aware that the social media network had a negative impact on the mental health of adolescents. Facebook has pushed back WSJ’s Stating that “it’s not at all accurate that this research shows Instagram is ‘toxic’ for teenage girls.”
The research slide decks are available here on Facebook’s Newsroom, split into two PDFs. We have also embedded the PDF at the bottom of this story. In particular, two PDFs have been annotated by Facebook in an attempt to provide context.
This release comes after significant pressure on Facebook to release files, including from ledgeCasey Newton. “We know that Facebook executives believe the company has positive overall benefits to the world, and we also know that they are careful students of their own data,” Newton wrote Tuesday. “It’s hard to understand why Facebook is often so reluctant to share it if the data is so positive.”
NS magazineThe U.S. report highlighted specific findings from the document as evidence of a widespread mental health problem on the app — specifically the finding that “thirty-two percent of teenage girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made him feel worse.”
Facebook-produced slides do little to support that interpretation, even as the company disputes specific points of interpretation. In a special slide, Facebook clarifies that the data is better interpreted as, “Adolescents who have lower life satisfaction are more likely to say that Instagram builds up their mental health or the way they do it.” They feel worse about themselves than teens who are satisfied with their lives.”
The research was released the evening before a congressional hearing on the impact of Facebook and Instagram on children’s mental health. That hearing is scheduled for Thursday at 10:30 a.m. ET.
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