Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal published a damning report that claimed Facebook knew the impact Instagram had on teens. The report cited studies conducted by the social media giant over three years, that showed how Instagram affected the mental well being of its young user base. Teenage girls were reported to be among the most vulnerable.
“Thirty-two percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse,” wrote one of the company's researchers in the report.
14% of young males also said that Instagram, made them feel worse about themselves.
Now Facebook has hit back at the report, publishing its internal research and arguing that, "The research actually demonstrated that many teens we heard from feel that using Instagram helps them when they are struggling with the kinds of hard moments and issues teenagers have always faced."Once the research was published, The Wall Street Journal published the slides it relied on, for its report. They also tweeted saying that Facebook published just two of the documents and despite an assurance to the publication, that it won't front-run the article, it rushed them out.
So here is a selection of the documents related to teen mental health that we relied on. Facebook just ran two docs -- minutes after we gave the company an hour's notice and received a commitment that they wouldn't front-run publication. https://t.co/PgEaLT9B4R
— Jeff Horwitz (@JeffHorwitz) September 30, 2021
These releases arrive on the heels of a US Congressional hearing about Instagram and its effect on mental health among the youth.