Senators ask Instagram about content promoting eating disorders

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Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) ask Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram director Adam Mosseri to account for what they call “The dangers of Instagram, especially for young people with eating disorders.

In light of testimony to Congress last week from former Facebook employee-turned-whistleblower Frances Haugen, senators sent a letter to social media giants asking them about the content moderation strategy and resources at Instagram regarding eating disorders, as well as Instagram’s advertising strategy to young users.

During his testimony, Haugen, who worked in Facebook’s civic integrity team, revealed troubling information about the mental health impact Facebook and Instagram are having on young people, especially young girls.

When Klobuchar asked about Instagram’s impact on eating disorders in young people, Haugen replied, “Facebook knows they lead young users to anorexia content.” Haugen also discussed Facebook internal data leak who found that 17% of teenage girls said using Instagram made their eating disorder worse, while 32% said using Instagram made bad feelings about their bodies worse.

Since the hearing, parents and teens spoke about what they see as the toxic consequences of Instagram. “Of course, Instagram doesn’t cause eating disorders. These are complex diseases caused by a combination of genetics, neurobiology and other factors, ”said Michelle, an Arizona mother whose first name is used only to protect the privacy of her children. Recount The Guardian. Still, Michelle called social media a big factor in the struggles of young people like her two teenage daughters, both of whom developed feeding problems during the pandemic, one almost requiring hospitalization.[Social media] helps trigger them and keeps teens trapped in this completely toxic culture, ”she said.

The three senators previously collaborated on the Anna Westin Act of 2015, which increased education and resources for people with eating disorders. Anna Westin was a 21-year-old resident of Minnesota who committed suicide in 2000 after a five-year struggle with anorexia.

In their letter to Zuckerberg and Mosseri, they write: “The stakes here are incredibly high – studies have shown that eating disorders have one of the highest death rates of all mental illnesses. We’ve been fighting for a long time for Americans to access eating disorder treatment services, but more needs to be done to protect our children from exposure to content on Facebook and Instagram that glorifies and promotes eating disorders. ‘food.

Read the full letter here.

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