While it has long been suspected – and widely understood – that social media platforms don’t always have a positive impact on our mental health, the ill effects of social networking have recently come into sharper focus.
In September 2021, a The Wall Street Journal He posted a flood of internal Facebook research that sheds light on the company’s behind-the-scenes actions. The documents revealed that the company, which recently changed its name to Meta and owns other social networks including Instagram and WhatsApp, is well aware of the negative impacts of its platforms on youth mental health, hate speech and dangerous political activity such as the buildup of riots in the US Capitol.
“The documents provide perhaps the clearest picture yet of the extent of Facebook’s problems within the company, even the CEO himself,” reads a quote from the newspaper report.
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The investigation showed that Facebook was ignoring the findings of its employees. the magazine He points out that despite congressional hearings, numerous media dissent and the company’s private pledges, Facebook has “never fixed” its flaws. The company is starting to back off, trying to beat off political outrage by rolling out new in-app measures with safety in mind, but will that be enough?
One of the most revealing revelations in the magazine’s reporting, and later from the testimony of Facebook whistleblower Frans Hougen, lies in the damage Instagram has contributed to the mental health of teens, particularly young girls who navigate the dynamics and obstacles of adolescence, body image and social acceptance. . .
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Canadians use social media to spend time with the people they care about, explore their interests, and express themselves. As always, we want our platforms to be a supportive and safe place for young people in particular,” Lisa Laventura, Head of Communications at Meta Canada, told Global News.
“For years, Meta has done extensive work on bullying, suicide, self-harm, and eating disorder prevention, and we will continue to seek opportunities to consult with experts and build new features and resources that help people with negative social comparison or body image issues.”
The problems highlighted magazine Other media agree with what Facebook’s critics have been lamenting for years — social media giants, like Facebook, seem to prioritize profits over the health and safety of billions of users.
Canadian teens are undoubtedly among those feeling the impact, and studies back this up.
A recent review of reports, studies and surveys offered a clear case of an epidemic of mental health concerns among young people, pointing to social media as a contributing factor – often overlooked.
META directors Kevin Chan, Rachel Curran, and Joel Pino wrote in an opinion piece published in The Globe and Mail last October.
While there will always be more work to be done, it is a mistake to suggest that we are ignoring these issues. Our research efforts, which we later release in full, show just the opposite.”
“Only with a better understanding of risks can we develop products, policies and partnerships to address areas of interest. Claiming that Facebook has been incentivized to maximize profits at any cost ignores the reality of this business, as well as the fact that both users and advertisers do not want to see hate on our platform There is no incentive, moral or economic, for Facebook to build products that make people angry or depressed.”
In the wake of the growing scrutiny of the social media giant, a group of reporters at Global News have been looking at the many aspects of the impact these online and offline platforms have – particularly on Canadian youth – whether they like it or not.
This series deals with the dangerous reality of social media and what is being done about it.
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