By Cathleen Cusachs

On September 14th, the Wall Street Journal published internal Facebook research on Instagram’s effects on teen mental health. The documents revealed serious dangers, with teenage girls being the most harmed.

According to the Wall Street Journal’s report, Facebook conducted thorough research into teen mental health over the last three years. This deep dive included online surveys, focus groups, and diary studies. One finding, the WSJ reports, was that 32% of teen girls who felt bad about their bodies, said Instagram made them feel worse.

While some problems were related to social media in general, the researchers reportedly found many were Instagram-specific. “Aspects of Instagram exacerbate each other to create a perfect storm,” the research said, according to the WSJ. This includes features like the app’s Explore page and the platform’s culture of posting only the highlights of life. Instagram is notorious for being filled with highly edited, beauty and lifestyle content. Facebook’s internal research found social comparison was much higher on Instagram.

This article was part of a five-part Wall Street Journal series called The Facebook Files. Other investigations in the series involve vaccine promotion, algorithmic issues, and an elite group of users exempt from some platform rules.

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