Beautiful women. Perfectly chiseled bodies. Extravagant lifestyles. Post after post after post. Welcome to Instagram.
Facebook, who owns the popular Instagram app, which is the social media platform of choice amongst many teens around the world and the U.S., led Congress and the public at large to believe they were creating platforms safe for our children.
At the hearing before Congress in March of 2020, Mark Zuckerberg was questioned about Instagram’s plans to unveil Instagram Kids, which would allegedly be safer, child-oriented product. Zuckerberg testified that the company had indeed studied the effect of the app on children.
When U.S. Senators Blumenthal and Blackburn requested the research from Facebook about how its product affected young people, the company refused to share its research and even went so far as to state in a response letter to the U.S. Senators: “We are not aware of a consensus among studies or experts about how much screen time is ‘too much’”.
However, for at least three years, Facebook has been gathering data on how its Instagram platform affects teens. Here are some notable findings from these studies, which were leaked from the company to the Washington Post.
“We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls.”
“Thirty-two percent (32%) of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse.”
Thirteen percent (13%) of teens in the UK and six percent (6%) of teens in the US traced thoughts to kill themselves from content they viewed on Instagram.
Facebook’s own internal research pointed out that its algorithms can lead teens down harmful, unhealthy paths. “Due to user’s tendency to only share the best moments, a pressure to look perfect and an addictive product can send teens spiraling toward eating disorders, an unhealthy sense of their own bodies and depression.”
The same research shows teens regularly reported wanting to spend less time on Instagram but lacked the self-control to do so.
And so, America, let us ask the question yet again – how much is a little girl worth? This company makes $100 BILLION annually. Forty (40%) of Instagram users are 22 years old and younger. Do you understand the answer to the question now?
Kelly R. McClintock joined Grewal Law in 2019 to help establish a human trafficking litigation division and to assist Grewal’s already successful practices, including sexual assault litigation, and family law.