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"If they feel unhappy and can express that unhappiness, even that alone suggests the problem is worth taking seriously." Alter added that the issues mentioned aren't all that easy to address. Alter expressed concern regarding, for example, the difficulties in trying to sh

The problem began in September in the middle of September, in the middle of September, when Wall Street Journal published an article entitled "Facebook Knows Instagram Is Toxic for Teen Girls, Company Documents Show." The report stated that Facebook has discovered troubling information regarding the effects on its Instagram service on children. It pointed to an internal presentation, which was leaked to the newspaper by a whistleblower anonymously, which contained a slide that claimed the following "thirty-two percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse." A different slide provided the following result "Teens are blaming Instagram for an increase in depression and anxiety. This response was not prompted and was the same across all age groups hacked text generator."

 

The revelations caused an outrage in the media. "Instagram Is Even Worse Than We Thought for Kids," said an article in the Washington Post report released in the days after the Journal's story. "It's Not Just Teenage Girls--Instagram Is Toxic for Everyone," stated in an opinion piece from The Boston Globe. "Zuckerberg's public comments about his platform's effects on mental health appear to be at odds with Facebook's internal findings," reported The New York Post. In a fierce post that was posted through the account of his Facebook page, Mark Zuckerberg pushed back and claimed that the motivations that his business was "misrepresented." The very the fact that Facebook conducted this study it wrote, indicates that the company is concerned about the health effects that its offerings have on people's health. Zuckerberg added information, which was included in the leaked slides that revealed that, in 11 out of the 12 areas of concern investigated (such as eating disorders and loneliness issues) teens more claimed they believed that Instagram did more good than harm. However, in the background the company stopped work on a brand new Instagram Kids service.

 

The company's responses were not enough to halt the criticism. In the beginning of October, the whistleblower went public with an interview with "60 Minutes," revealing her identity as Frances Haugen, a data scientist who been working for Facebook in the area of the democratic process and misinformation. The next day, Haugen testified for three hours in front of an Senate subcommittee. She claimed that Facebook's emphasis on growth over security had produced "more division, more harm, more lies, more threats, and more combat." In an uncommon moment of unanimity, Democratic and Republican members of the subcommittee appeared to accept that the social media platforms are a major problem. "Every part of the country has the harms that are inflicted by Facebook and Instagram," the chairman of the subcommittee senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, said in a press release following the testimony of Haugen.

 

This isn't the first time Facebook is under criticism. What I was struck by concerning this particular incident was, in fact, less its tone which was nearly always negative than the details that were left out. The reaction in response to this Journal's report quickly demanded sanctions and restrictions on Facebook. In many instances the commentators expressed discontent over the absence of any retribution that has been enacted until now. "Both Democrats and Republicans have lambasted Facebook for years, amid polls showing the company is deeply unpopular with much of the public," according to an eloquent piece in The Washington Post. "Despite that, little has been done to bring the company to heel." The one thing that's missing from the debate, however, is the discussion of what's arguably the most natural reaction to the scandals surrounding Instagram's possible harm should kids use the services?


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