Facebook defends Instagram after review: “More benefit than harm”

The Wall Street Journal recently published a report on how Facebook’s own research shows how Instagram makes users – especially teenage girls – feel bad. Now Facebook has published a long comment which addresses many of the specific statements in the report. The comment was written by research director Pratiti Raychoudhury.

One of the claims in the report is that an internal presentation on Facebook from 2019 showed that Instagram exacerbates problems with body perception in teenage girls.

Facebook has published the quoted page from the presentation in its entirety, which shows that body perception was an exception where more users answered that Instagram has made them worse. For all other problems Facebook asked about, such as sleep, eating disorders and anxiety, more answered that Instagram has reduced the problems.

In the survey quoted by the Wall Street Journal, Facebook asked if Instagram has made young people feel better or worse. Of 1,296 American young people, 346 answered that they feel better and 137 that they feel worse. The rest did not think that Instagram has had any effect on how they feel. The results were similar in the UK, writes Facebook. The survey was conducted only in these two countries.

At the same time announces Facebook that the company pauses the development of “Instagram Kids”, the version of Instagram for 10-12-year-olds the company has had under development. The company writes that it still believes in the idea that it is better to give children customized content than to try to stop them from using the service at all. Now the company must take the time to “talk to parents, experts and legislators”.