Social-media apps exploit self-worth points

editorial staff

If Instagram brought a security warning, what would it be? Warning: the people in this app are less perfect than they appear.

The popular photo-sharing app became a trending topic last week after research by the Wall Street Journal found that Facebook, which owns Instagram, not only knows its app is toxic to teenage girls, but actually concluded that it was internal research.

According to an internal Facebook presentation verified by the Journal, 32 percent of teenage girls said that Instagram made them feel worse about their bodies when they were feeling down. More than 40 percent of Instagram users are under the age of 22, and 22 million teenagers log into Instagram every day. (You must be at least 13 years old to use Instagram.)

“Teenagers blame Instagram for the increase in anxiety and depression,” says another slide from the internal presentation. “This reaction was unsolicited and consistent in all groups.”

The Instagram story is part of an ongoing journal investigation that also investigated Facebook’s other errors. And yet, despite these results, Facebook doesn’t seem to have anything to do with them. In fact, the Journal noted that the company continues to publicly downplay the negative impact Instagram has on teens.

Would you like to get a head start on your day?

Get the latest news of the day, weather forecast and more delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.

Sign up for the lead

History once again called for tighter regulation of social media, as well as the abolition of a proposed children’s version of Instagram, which seems like a terrible idea from any perspective. But more regulation or even treating the app like tobacco or alcohol is unlikely to be enough to convince teenage girls to delete Instagram. For many of its most avid users, the application is too embedded in their lives.

Instagram is a photo app and an emerging photo app. The emerging qualities of Instagram have sparked both the influencer industry – now a multi-billion dollar problem – and a phenomenon called Instagram Face, where women use filters – or, in some cases, undergo full plastic surgery – to achieve She got the contoured, pillow-lipped look that a New York Times writer called “a sexy baby meets Jessica Rabbit.”

Users offer each other confirmation by means of heart-shaped “likes”; it is a look-based attention economy. It’s not hard to see how self-esteem can get caught up in all of this, especially since the content young people create is often forward-looking. They take selfies. They run Reels – Instagram’s short, shareable videos. You are the content.

The very idea of ​​a “personal brand” gives the impression that one has to be marketable. No wonder, then, that many young people attach great importance to followers, engagement, shares and likes in relation to their value as a person. It’s also worth noting that these young people grew up on the Internet; Depending on how connected their parents were, some may even have digital footprints before they were born.

Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, argued in a WSJ podcast that social comparison and fear are social problems, not Instagram-specific problems. And he’s right – there are social problems that are older than Instagram and the internet. Before Instagram, fashion magazines were the architects of unrealistic standards of beauty. Before that, it was undoubtedly something else. But there is one crucial difference: the models were generally not their own. It wasn’t, except in the rarest of cases, a friend pouting from the cover of a glossy magazine.

Mr Mosseri said he was keen to ensure that Instagram “doesn’t make these problems worse”. A first step could be to publicly admit that this is already the case.

Comments are closed.