Toxic for Girls: Lawmakers Call on Zuckerberg to Drop ‘Instagram for Kids’ Plan After Mental Health Report

Mark Zuckerberg stumped by question
AFP/Getty

Democrat lawmakers have called on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to drop his plans for an “Instagram for Kids” app following recently released internal research by Instagram that showed that the platform has had a terrible effect on the mental health of its teenage users, especially girls.

Breitbart News recently reported that Facebook spoke to researchers within Instagram, which it owns, who were studying how users interacted on its platform and attempting to understand the types of universal experiences that they shared.

The researchers presented their findings to Facebook which concluded that a significant number of teen girls that use the Instagram platform develop body image issues. Among the researchers’ findings are that Instagram makes existing body image issues worse and that teens blame the platform for an increase in anxiety and depression.

schoolkids using smartphones

schoolkids using smartphones ( dolgachov/Getty)

Mark Zuckerberg throwing spears

Mark Zuckerberg throwing spears (Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook)

Following this report, lawmakers have begun calling on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to abandon previously announced plans to create an “Instagram for Kids,” app. The demand comes shortly after lawmakers on the Senate Commerce Committee announced plans to investigate the firm with the help of a “Facebook whistleblower.”

The lawmakers stated: “Children and teens are uniquely vulnerable populations online, and these findings paint a clear and devastating picture of Instagram as an app that poses significant threats to young people’s wellbeing.”  The letter was signed by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), and Representatives Kathy Castor (D-FL) and Lori Trahan (D-MA).

Members of the Senate Commerce Committee said that Facebook has proven to be incapable of holding itself accountable, stating that the company’s “growth-at-all-costs” tactic has placed profit above “the health and lives of children and teens.”

The lawmakers stated: “When given the opportunity to come clean to us about their knowledge of Instagram’s impact on young users, Facebook provided evasive answers that were misleading and covered up clear evidence of significant harm.”

Markey, Castor, and Trahan stated in the letter to Zuckerberg: “As the internet—and social media specifically—becomes increasingly engrained in children and teens’ lives, we are deeply concerned that your company continues to fail in its obligation to protect young users and has yet to commit to halt its plans to launch new platforms targeting children and teens.”

Read more at Gizmodo here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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