A group of Democratic representatives once again demanded Facebook to abandon plans to release an Instagram for kids, after a report by the Wall Street Journal that said Facebook conducted researches on the effects of the app on teenagers, which reveal that the social media app had a harmful impact on the mental health of teenage girls.
On Wednesday, Senator Edward Markey, Representative Lori Trahan, and Representative Kathy Castor sent a request letter to Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, to proceed with their demands. Moreover, the letter highlighted key facts from the Tuesday report of the Wall Street Journal about internal findings of Facebook, including that Instagram (social media app) negatively affected body image for one in three girls, six percent of American teens drew their desire to end their lives to the app.
Recent reports prove that Facebook knew Instagram is a significant threat to the mental health of young people. @USRepKCastor, @RepLoriTrahan, and I are demanding that Mr. Zuckerberg immediately abandon Facebook’s plans to launch a new version of Instagram for kids. pic.twitter.com/Jc82mrtqNM
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) September 15, 2021
The letter further said that one in five American teens reports that Instagram makes them feel inferior about themselves, and it makes teens feel pressure to match the body shapes and money of influencers. Moreover, the representatives said these findings paint a shocking and clear picture that Instagram poses significant threats to the wellbeing of young people. The lawmakers also have some concerns that Facebook continues to fail in its responsibility to protect young users.
Lawmakers Demand More Information on Facebook’s Research on Children and Teen Mental Health
The letter further asks the Facebook CEO to provide more information on the research of his firm on the mental health of teens and children and its plans for new products or platforms directed to teens by 6th October. In response to the article of Wall Street Journal, Instagram said it found that the social media effects mixed. The app can give voice to relegated communities, keep users connected, and be a place where people usually have negative experiences.
Instagram also said that it made features to helps users protect themselves from bullying by allowing them to hide viewer counts. Additionally, the company is focusing on combating negative body image and negative social comparison. In April, Zuckerberg announced his plans to develop an Instagram version for kids, which instantly drew concerns from the public and representatives that children would not have enough protection under the new app.
After the announcement, attorneys general from forty-four states and counties urged the social media company to stop its plans. Likewise, in May, a group of representatives including Castor and Markey with Senator Richard Blumenthal called for Facebook to license the plans for an Instagram for kids, alleging the firm didn’t address the concerns of lawmakers with the app.