Facebook Rushes to Defend Itself Following WSJ’s Damaging Reports on Teen Safety

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Social media giant Facebook is rushing to defend itself following the “Facebook Files,” a series of stories recently published by the Wall Street Journal exposing how the company has prioritized profits over user health and safety, particularly that of teenage girls — who the company’s own research indicates develop a toxic relationship with its Instagram platform.

CNBC reports that following a recent Wall Street Journal investigation titled “The Facebook Files,” which exposed the company’s dedication to prioritizing profits over user health and safety, the Masters of the Universe are desperately attempting to defend themselves from critics. Breitbart News has reported extensively on the recently released Facebook internal documents.

According to the Wall Street Journal, internal Facebook documents reveal that tech giant Apple threatened to remove Facebook from its App Store in 2019 following a report from BBC News that detailed the human trafficking taking place across the social media platform.

AFP

New iPhones woo users to Apple television and games (AFP Josh Edelson)

The Wall Street Journal also claimed that Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm saw a major change in 2018 that appeared to promote outrageous and negative content on the platform. When informed of this, top executives including CEO Mark Zuckerberg were allegedly hesitant to solve the issue.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives for the 8th annual Breakthrough Prize awards ceremony at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California on November 3, 2019. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives for the 8th annual Breakthrough Prize awards ceremony at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California on November 3, 2019. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

In another report titled “Facebook Knows Instagram Is Toxic for Teen Girls, Company Documents Show,” the Wall Street Journal claims that Facebook is aware that its photo-sharing app Instagram can have a negative effect on the body image of young women.

The White Bear Lake Police Department in Minnesota has revealed that the creator of an Instagram account that sent racist messages to black classmates is a black female, a fact previously covered up by the local school district.

The White Bear Lake Police Department in Minnesota has revealed that the creator of an Instagram account that sent racist messages to black classmates is a black female, a fact previously covered up by the local school district.

Facebook reportedly 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 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 body image issues worse and that teens blame the platform for an increase in anxiety and depression.

Now, Facebook is reportedly going into full defense mode following the WSJ reports. On Saturday, Facebook Vice President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg published a blog post titled, “What the Wall Street Journal got wrong — about Facebook.”

Facebook accused the Wall Street Journal of mischaracterizing its actions. The social media giant claimed that the WSJ falsely implying false motives on the part of Facebook executives and employees. Clegg wrote in his defense of the company: “Facebook understands the significant responsibility that comes with operating a global platform.”

Clegg added: “We take it seriously, and we don’t shy away from scrutiny and criticism. But we fundamentally reject this mischaracterization of our work and impugning of the company’s motives.” But, Clegg did not provide any additional information to refute claims made by the WSJ.

A Facebook representative told CNBC that it had no further comment beyond Clegg’s blog post but added: “We’ve also been working with WSJ reporters to make sure our responses are included in the series.”

Read more at CNBC 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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