After the new Wall Street Journal report, we on Facebook are weak to defend society

At the moment, it is not surprising that social media platforms like Facebook can have a negative impact on society. For years, journalists, politicians, sociologists এমনকি even biologists and ecologists-have been concerned about the impact of Facebook on our collective well-being. And Facebook has always defended itself by emphasizing that it is a good good for society because of how it unites people.

But a new series of reports in the Wall Street Journal, “Facebook Files,” has studied Facebook and has long known that its products harm the mental health of adolescents co-measurable, real-world, and then suppress that harm to the public when denying and downplaying. Research. The revelations, which only reinforce the fact that the growing chorus of lawmakers and regulators severely cracks down on Facebook or otherwise severely limits its power as a social media giant, could present a turning point for the company.

Already, the journal’s reporting is having consequences for Facebook: a bipartisan Senate committee is investigating the impact of Instagram on teens, and a group of legislators led by Sen. Ed Marke (D-MA) is urging Facebook to stop all developments to its Instagram. Kids products for children under 13, which BuzzFeed News first revealed that the company is developing in March.

“We’re in contact with a Facebook whistleblower and will use our resources to find out what Facebook knew and when they knew it – including asking for more documents and taking witness testimony,” a joint statement from Sense read. CT) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) Tuesday. “The Wall Street Journal’s blockbuster reporting can only be the pinnacle of the iceberg.”

It’s not clear how much these efforts will affect Facebook’s policy decisions and bottom line. Investigations are at an early stage, and it is not immediately clear whether this will lead directly to any new legislation or other regulation.

The head of Instagram’s public policy wrote in a company blog post on Tuesday that the journal’s reporting “focuses on a limited range of results and throws them into a negative light” Can.

In the long run, Facebook’s consequences are immediately measurable, but perhaps even more damaging. These results about the company have further damaged the little faith that politicians had – who have long wanted Facebook to be specific about the platform’s impact on mental health. The company refused to provide it, although in many cases it had all the answers.

Take this backstory, for example, between Mark Zuckerberg and Representative Kathy McMurray Rogers (R-WA) at a congressional hearing on social media in March 2021.

Sen. Rogers: Do you agree too much time in front of the screen, passively content is harmful to children’s mental health?

Mark Zuckerberg: Congresswoman, the research I’ve seen shows that if people use computers and social media –

Sen. Rogers: Can you answer yes or no? I’m sorry. Can you use yes or no?

Mark Zuckerberg. I don’t think the study is final. But I can summarize what I have learned, if it is helpful.

“Overall, the research we’ve seen is that using social apps to connect with other apps can have positive mental health benefits and benefits by helping people feel more connected and less lonely,” Zuckerberg said.

Not to mention the negative impact her own team has had on Instagram over the past three years, including in her own study of teenage users, 32 percent of teenage girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel bad.

When Sen. Rogers and other Republicans followed up with Facebook and asked about the company’s internal research on the impact of its products on mental health, according to Bloomberg, the company did not share the results of the Instagram research, or share them with Sen. When Ed Mark asked his office to provide Facebook with any internal research on the matter in April, according to a letter from Rickey’s office to Record.

“This is a profound problem for children and adolescents,” said Jim Steer, CEO and founder of the nonprofit organization Common Sense Media, which was an advocate for studying the effects of technology on children and adolescents. “Facebook knew the research, did the research, and then hid it … it’s pretty upsetting,” he told Recode.

One of the other disgusting results of the journal’s reporting is the discovery that the company has a VIP program that allows celebrities and politicians to break its rules, and in 2018 Facebook tweaked its algorithm in a way that encouraged people to share offensive content. In each case, they have seized it, despite obstacles we can scarcely imagine. “

Over the years, Facebook has been able to criticize any of the negative effects of its products on social technology, like other technological innovations. Something Disadvantages – but the good is more than the bad.

In a recent interview with my colleague Peter Kafka Record media The podcast points to the way in which Adam Moseri, head of Instagram, has helped social justice movements like social media Black Lives Matter and Me Too. And he likened Facebook to the invention of the automobile.

“Cars have both positive and negative consequences. We understand that. We know that car accidents kill more people than anyone else,” Moser said. Like. ”

It is undeniable that social media can facilitate social change. It can be a useful way for people to keep in touch with their friends and family – and indeed, as Zuckerberg told Congress, it can help people feel less lonely.

But, at one point, the question is whether the public will accept this rationale as an excuse for the company to experiment with our collective well-being, to measure that loss, and to keep people in the dark about what they are learning. Since they are making a record profit of around ০ 1 trillion.

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