Tags: meta | facebook | instagram | girls | anorexia | content | anxiety

Meta Knew Instagram Pushed Girls to Dangerous Content

social media applications logos displayed on a smartphone
(Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 12 December 2022 08:57 AM EST

Big Tech giant Meta knew Instagram directed young girls to dangerous content, according to a previously unpublished internal document.

CBS News reported Sunday that an employee at Instagram, which also is owned by Facebook parent company Meta, last year conducted an internal investigation on eating disorders and found that a fake account was led to graphic content and recommendations to follow accounts titled "skinny binge" and "apple core anorexic."

The employee had opened a fake account as a 13-year-old girl looking for diet tips.

Other internal memos showed Facebook employees raising concerns about company research that revealed Instagram made 33% of teen girls feel worse about their bodies, CBS News reported.

The internal memos also found that teens who used Instagram felt higher rates of anxiety and depression.

One attorney, who's working with more than 1,200 families pursuing lawsuits against social media companies, will start the discovery process for the consolidated federal cases in multimillion dollar lawsuits that he says are more about changing policy than financial compensation, CBS News reported.

"Time after time, when they have an opportunity to choose between safety of our kids and profits, they always choose profits," attorney Matt Bergman, who started the Social Media Victims Law Center, told "60 Minutes."

"They have intentionally designed a product — that is addictive. They understand that if children stay online, they make more money. It doesn't matter how harmful the material is."

Bergman said the apps were designed to evade parental authority. He told CBS News that Meta must implement better age and identity verification protocols.

"That technology exists," Bergman told "60 Minutes." "If people are trying to hook up on Tinder, there's technology to make sure the people are who they say they are."

The lawyer also told CBS News that algorithms driving content to users should be done away with.

"There's no reason why Alexis Spence, who was interested in exercise, should have been directed to anorexic content," Bergman told "60 Minutes."

"Number three would be warnings so that parents know what's going on. Let's be realistic, you're never going to have social media platforms be 100% safe. But these changes would make them safer."

Antigone Davis, Meta's global head of safety, told CBS News that the company has improved Instagram's "age verification technology."

"We want teens to be safe online," said Davis, who added that Instagram doesn't "allow content promoting self-harm or eating disorders."

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Newsfront
Big Tech giant Meta knew Instagram directed young girls to dangerous content, according to a previously unpublished internal document.
meta, facebook, instagram, girls, anorexia, content, anxiety, depression
399
2022-57-12
Monday, 12 December 2022 08:57 AM
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