Really thought-provoking and concerning blurb from Robinhood’s “financial snacks” newsletter.
Facebook’s Spiral: secret docs reveal the extent of Insta’s mental health toll on young users
Rough week for PR… WSJ got its hands on some juicy Facebook -internal docs, and the bad headlines have been snowballing. Controversies include: a secret Facebook moderation program that exempts celebs from usual posting restrictions, and a test initiative that pushed positive news stories about FB to users. The latest shocking revelation: FB has extensive internal research showing that Instagram is toxic for teens.
Not a secret… Criticism of social media’s impact on mental health has been building for years, amplified by documentaries like The Social Dilemma and vocal lawmakers. What’s notable about FB is the scale of the problem. FB researchers consistently found that Insta is harmful for a significant percentage of users — especially young girls.
- 32% of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse.
- 6% of American users who reported suicidal thoughts traced those desires to Instagram. For British users, it was 13%.
- +178%: Suicide deaths for children ages 10 to 14 nearly tripled from 2007 to 2017, when social media saw mass adoption.
The paradox… The most problematic social app features also seem to drive the most engagement — along with profits and stock prices. Last quarter, FB’s revenue soared, and profit nearly doubled to $9.5B. Snap and TikTok are also experiencing strong growth, largely thanks to young users who are growing up with these apps:
- 40%+ of Insta users are 22 and younger. Snap reaches 90% of US 13- to 24-year-olds. And 60% of TikTok users are between the ages of 16 and 24.