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Facebook leak shows knowledge of Instagram’s harmful effect on girls – Women’s Agenda

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A leak from Facebook has revealed it withheld its own research on the harmful effects of Instagram for two years, including stats surrounding the damage to mental health that the social platform poses to teenage girls. 

Journalists at the Wall Street Journal reported seeing a slide from an internal presentation given within Facebook in 2019, showing their research that indicated the platform, which has roughly one billion monthly active users globally, is harmful for a large proportion of users, especially teenage girls.

“We make body image issues worse for 1 in 3 teen girls,” one of the slides presented

Another internal presentation inside Facebook, occurring in March 2020, said that “thirty-two percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse.”

“Teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression,” the slides continued. “This reaction was unprompted and consistent across all groups.” 

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These leaks show Facebook was aware that Instagram, which it acquired in 2012, had a series of diary studies, focus groups and online surveys conducted between 2019 and 2020, which showed the product’s harmful impact on the mental health of teenagers. 

In public however, Facebook executives have persistently minimised its negative impact on teenagers.

In March, Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg even declared that social media has positive mental health effects on its users. 

Adam Mosseri, the 38-year old the head of Instagram, said in May that he was aware of research that suggests its effects on teenagers’ mental health was probably “quite small”.

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One internal study noted that “aspects of Instagram exacerbate each other to create a perfect storm,” putting pressure on young people to share only the best moments in their lives and to ‘look perfect’ — all of which may draw teenagers into depression, lower self-esteem and eating disorders.

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One of the most troubling conclusions found within these internal reports was that among users who self-reported suicidal thoughts, 13 percent in the UK and 6 percent in the US connected them back to being on Instagram. 

The leaked studies replicate similar results found in a number of other studies showing the negative impact social media has on young people’s mental wellbeing. 

A 2017 report by YoungMinds and the Royal Society for Public Health pinpointed Instagram as having the most negative impact on young people’s mental wellbeing of all the available social networks at that time. 

The charity’s chief executive, Emma Thomas, said despite possible beneficial aspects to social media, pressure exerted on young people also spiked.  

“Being surrounded by constant images of the ‘perfect’ life and seemingly perfect bodies can also have a big impact on how you feel about your own life and appearance, and it can be really hard not to compare yourself to others,” Thomas told The Guardian.

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 5Rights Foundation, a UK based charity that campaigns for changes to digital services to make them more suitable for young people, released a statement saying, “Facebook’s own research is a devastating indictment of the carelessness with which it, and the tech sector more broadly, treats children.” 

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“In pursuit of profit these companies are stealing children’s time, self-esteem and mental health, and sometimes tragically their lives … This is an entirely human-made world, largely privately owned, designed to optimise for commercial purposes – it does not have to be like this. It is time to optimise for the safety, rights and wellbeing of kids first – and then, only then – profit.”


The Guardian was sent a link to a blog post written by Karina Newton, Instagram’s head of public policy, where she said the  Wall Street Journal story had “focused on a limited set of findings and casts them in a negative light”.

“Issues like negative social comparison and anxiety exist in the world, so they’re going to exist on social media too,” Newton said.

“That doesn’t change the fact that we take these findings seriously, and we set up a specific effort to respond to this research and change Instagram for the better.”

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Back in September 2019, Instagram’s public policy manager, Emma Collins said she wanted Instagram “…to be a positive place for everyone that uses it and this policy is part of our ongoing work to reduce the pressure that people can sometimes feel as a result of social media.”

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

Meta has announced the arrival of a new Split Payments feature in Facebook Messenger. This feature, as the name suggests, will let you calculate and split expenses with others right from Facebook Messenger. This feature essentially looks to bring an easier method to share the cost of bills and expenses — for example, splitting a dinner bill with friends. Using this new Split Payment feature, Facebook Messenger users will be able to split bills evenly or modify the contribution for each individual, including their own.

The company took to its blog post to announce the new Split Payment feature in Facebook Messenger. 9to5Mac reports that this new bill splitting feature is still in beta and will be exclusive to US users at first. The rollout will begin early next week. As mentioned, it will help users share the cost of bills, expenses, and payments. This feature is especially useful for those who share an apartment and need to split the monthly rent and other expenses with their mates. It could also come handy at a group dinner with many people.

With Split Payments, users can add the number of people the expense needs to be divided with and, by default, the amount entered will be divided in equal parts. A user can also modify each person’s contribution including their own. To use Split Payments, click the Get Started button in a group chat or the Payments Hub in Messenger. Users can modify the contribution in the Split Payments option and send a notification to all the users who need to make payments. After entering a personalised message and confirming your Facebook Pay details, the request will be sent and viewable in the group chat thread.

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Once someone has made the payment, you can mark their transaction as ‘completed’. The Split Payment feature will automatically take into account your share as well and calculate the amount owed accordingly.


For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com.

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Facebook Owner Meta Launches New Platform, Safety Hub to Protect Women in India

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Meta (formerly Facebook) on Thursday announced a slew of steps to protect woman users on its platform, including the launch of StopNCII.org in India that aims to combat the spread of non-consensual intimate images (NCII).

Meta has also launched the Women’s Safety Hub, which will be available in Hindi and 11 other Indian languages, that will enable more women users in India to access information about tools and resources that can help them make the most of their social media experience, while staying safe online.

This initiative by Meta will ensure women do not face a language barrier in accessing information Karuna Nain, director (global safety policy) at Meta Platforms, told reporters here.

“Safety is an integral part of Meta’s commitment to building and offering a safe online experience across the platforms and over the years the company has introduced several industry leading initiatives to protect users online.

“Furthering our effort to bolster the safety of users, we are bringing in a number of initiatives to ensure online safety of women on our platforms,” she added.

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StopNCII.org is a platform that aims to combat the spread of non-consensual intimate images (NCII).

“It gives victims control. People can come to this platform proactively, hash their intimate videos and images, share their hashes back with the platform and participating companies,” Nain said.

She explained that the platform doesn’t receive any photos and videos, and instead what they get is the hash or unique digital fingerprint/unique identifier that tells the company that this is a known piece of content that is violating. “We can proactively keep a lookout for that content on our platforms and once it”s uploaded, our review team check what”s really going on and take appropriate action if it violates our policies,” she added.

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In partnership with UK Revenge Porn Helpline, StopNCII.org builds on Meta’s NCII Pilot, an emergency programme that allows potential victims to proactively hash their intimate images so they can”t be proliferated on its platforms.

The first-of-its-kind platform, has partnered with global organisations to support the victims of NCII. In India, the platform has partnered with organisations such as Social Media Matters, Centre for Social Research, and Red Dot Foundation.

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Nain added that the company is hopeful that this becomes an industrywide initiative, so that victims can just come to this one central place to get help and support and not have to go to each and every tech platform, one by one to get help and support.

Also, Bishakha Datta (executive editor of Point of View) and Jyoti Vadehra from Centre for Social Research are the first Indian members in Meta”s Global Women”s Safety Expert Advisors. The group comprises 12 other non-profit leaders, activists, and academic experts from different parts of the world and consults Meta in the development of new policies, products and programmes to better support women on its apps.

“We are confident that with our ever-growing safety measures, women will be able to enjoy a social experience which will enable them to learn, engage and grow without any challenges.

“India is an important market for us and bringing Bishakha and Jyoti onboard to our Women”s Safety Expert Advisory Group will go a long way in further enhancing our efforts to make our platforms safer for women in India,” Nain said.

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Facebook Adds New Trend Insights in Creator Studio, Which Could Help Shape Your Posting Strategy

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Facebook’s looking to provide more content insight within Creator Studio with the rollout of a new ‘Inspiration Hub’ element, which highlights trending content and hashtags within categories related to your business Page.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

As you can see in these screenshots, posted by social media expert Matt Navarra, when it becomes available to you, you’ll be able to access the new Inspiration Hub from the Home tab in Creator Studio.

At the right side of the screen, you can see the first of the new insights, with trending hashtags and videos from the last 24 hours, posted by Pages similar to yours, displayed above a ‘See more’ prompt.

When you tap through to the new hub, you’ll have a range of additional filters to check out trending content from across Facebook, including Page category, content type, region, and more.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

That could be hugely valuable in learning what Facebook users are responding to, and what people within your target market are engaging with in the app.

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The Hub also includes insights into trending hashtags, within your chosen timeframe, which may further assist in tapping into trending discussions.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

How valuable hashtags are on Facebook is still up for debate, but you’ll also note that you can filter the displayed results by platform, so you can additionally display Instagram hashtag trends as well, which could be very valuable in maximizing your reach.

Much of this type of info has been available within CrowdTangle, Facebook’s analytics platform for journalists, for some time, but not everyone can access CrowdTangle data, which could make this an even more valuable proposition for many marketers.

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Of course, overall performance really relates to your own creative, and thinking through the action that you want your audience to take when reading your posts. But in terms of detecting new content trends, including hashtag usage, caption length, videos versus image posts, and more, there’s a lot that could be gleaned from these tools and filters.

It’s a significant analytics addition – we’ve asked Facebook for more info on the rollout of the new option, and whether it’s already beyond test mode, etc. We’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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