Instagram internal research reveals damage to teens’ mental health

  • A report by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) revealed that Facebook has conducted internal research on the effects of Instagram which they have been unwilling to share with the public.
  • The WSJ got access to the studies which show Instagram’s negative effects on younger users, particularly teenage girls.
  • One study showed that 40% of US and UK teenage users of Instagram reported feeling unattractive when they started using Instagram.
  • The research showed that Instagram encourages more social comparison than other platforms like TikTok and Snapchat, as it focuses more on user’s bodies and lifestyles.
  • Other findings included teenagers feeling addicted to Instagram and blaming Instagram for increases in anxiety and depression.
  • Two lawmakers from the US Senate Commerce Committee have since announced an investigation into Facebook following the report.
  • Full story, here.

Snapchat hires first global head of platform safety

  • Snapchat’s owner has hired long-time online safety advocate, Jacqueline Beauchere, as its first head of platform safety.
  • This is part of the company’s ongoing efforts around user safety and the mounting pressures from regulators and lawmakers on social media platforms.
  • Child safety advocates have raised concerns on the effects of online platforms on user mental health and their potential use for bullying and child sexual exploitation.
  • Snapchat faces pressures to handle safety issues due to its large youth userbase.
  • This follows efforts by TikTok to introduce resources for users struggling with mental health, eating disorders and thoughts of suicide.
  • For more information on staying safe on Snapchat, check out our safety card.
  • Full story, here.

Increases in young people seeking eating disorder support

  • Eating Disorders Association Northern Ireland’s (EANI) Sian Ogle gave evidence to Stormont’s Education Committee on the increasing number of teenagers seeking support for eating disorders.
  • The evidence given highlighted one case where a child had to wait 26 weeks before being seen by a specialist despite it being classified as an ‘emergency case’.
  • Data from the Department of Health (DoH) showed that there were 9,969 review appointments for eating disorder services for adults and children in 2019-20 which rose to 13,792 in 2020-21.
  • According to Youth Wellbeing NI Survey in 2019, one in six children and young people in Northern Ireland engaged in a pattern of disordered eating and behaviours that could indicate the need for further assessment.
  • Health Minister Robin Swann said that the new mental health strategy contained a commitment to enhance the regional eating disorder service.
  • Full story, here.

Instagram is testing new ‘Map Search’ feature for business discovery

  • Instagram has launched a live test of a new feature called ‘Map Search’ in Australia and New Zealand.
  • The feature allows users to discover businesses and locations of interest on the in-app map, find information on each business and access public posts tagged in that location.
  • Users with access are being prompted to tap on the map icon at the top right of the Discover tab which highlights cafes, restaurants, shops, entertainment venues and more.
  • Businesses can list opening hours, their address, price information and connect their own Instagram profile and posts.
  • This feature accompanies WhatsApp’s new ‘Businesses Nearby’ directory being tested in São Paulo in users contact listing that operates in a similar way.
  • Instagram’s Map Search will also connect to users’ public stories which have been location tagged, these will be accessible for other users across the globe.
  • Full story, here.