Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) ask Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram director Adam Mosseri to account for what they call “The dangers of Instagram, especially for young people with eating disorders.
In light of testimony to Congress last week from former Facebook employee-turned-whistleblower Frances Haugen, senators sent a letter to social media giants asking them about the content moderation strategy and resources for Instagram regarding eating disorders, as well as Instagram’s advertising strategy with young users.
During his testimony, Haugen, who worked on Facebook’s civic integrity team, revealed disturbing information about the impact of Facebook and Instagram on the mental health of young people, especially young girls.
When Klobuchar asked about Instagram’s impact on eating disorders in young people, Haugen replied, “Facebook knows they lead young users to content about anorexia. Haugen also discussed internal Facebook data leaks which found that 17% of teenage girls said using Instagram made their eating disorders worse, while 32% said using Instagram had compounded the bad feelings about their bodies.
Since the hearing, parents and teens have spoken out about what they see as the toxic consequences of Instagram. “Of course, Instagram doesn’t cause eating disorders. These are complex diseases caused by a combination of genetics, neurobiology and other factors, ”said an Arizona mother named Michelle, who only bears her first name to protect the privacy of her children. The Guardian. Still, Michelle called social media a big factor in the struggles of young people like her two teenage daughters, both of whom developed eating disorders during the pandemic, one almost requiring hospitalization.[Social media] helps set them off and keeps teens trapped in this completely toxic culture, ”she said.
The three senators previously collaborated on the Anna Westin Act of 2015, which increased education and resources for people with eating disorders. Anna Westin was a 21-year-old Minnesota resident who committed suicide in 2000 after a five-year struggle with anorexia.
In their letter to Zuckerberg and Mosseri, they write: “The stakes here are incredibly high – studies have shown that eating disorders have one of the highest death rates of all mental illnesses. We’ve long been fighting for Americans to access eating disorder treatment services, but more needs to be done to protect our children from exposure to content on Facebook and Instagram that glorifies and promotes eating disorders. food.
Read the full letter here.
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