Facebook urged to publish research on harm its platforms causes kids
UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said he was "astonished" to learn that an internal study by the tech giant found 17% of teenage girls said Instagram, owned by Facebook, made their eating disorders worse.
He criticized the social media company for not sharing the study with parents, healthcare professionals, and politicians – adding that it must "do the right thing" and publish information it holds.
Earlier this month, former Facebook data scientist Frances Haugen accused the business of being aware of apparent harm to some teenagers from Instagram and being dishonest in its public fight against hate and misinformation.
Haugen has come forward with a wide-ranging condemnation of Facebook, with tens of thousands of pages of internal research documents she secretly copied before leaving her job in the company’s civic integrity unit.
Facebook has said her allegations are misleading and claims there is no evidence to support the premise that it is the primary cause of social polarization. They have also unveiled new safety measures to protect young users.
"Over the past year, the number of young people being urgently referred for eating disorders has doubled," Javid said recently in the UK House of Commons. "I do think that it is time for Facebook to do the right thing and publish what they know.”
Cover photo: Collage: IMAGO/ZUMA Press & ZUMA Wire