Facebook Inc. published two internal studies late Wednesday examining Instagram use with teenage mental health issues. The company seemed to minimize the work of its own researchers and criticize them in some places.
The studies were presented in a series of .pdf slides. The company published notes alongside the slides, many of which questioned the validity of the results and the design of the internal studies. Facebook called the headlines of the slides twice as “short-sighted”.
On another slide, Facebook questioned employees’ understanding of their own research goals.
The company argued that an October 2019 slide titled “Teens Struggling With Mental Health Say Instagram Makes It Worse” needed to be “cleared” to say, “Teens who have lower life satisfaction levels. are more likely to say that Instagram makes their mental health or the way they feel worse than teenagers who are satisfied with their lives. “
“The comments do not reflect our views about the researchers who conducted these studies who are valued members of our team,” Pratiti Raychoudhury, a Facebook executive who oversees the research, said in a statement. “The notes are there to give the public more context about internal research and the limitations of studies, which were always intended to inform internal conversations between teams that have already had that context so they can improve our products and resources . “
The studies were published weeks after the Wall Street Journal reported on internal Instagram research that concluded that some teenagers felt worse after using Instagram. This investigation, which is part of the journal’s Facebook filing series, sparked concern among Washington lawmakers, which resulted in a hearing on Thursday.
Shortly after Facebook published the research papers, the journal released a wider range of documents that formed the basis for its coverage of Instagram and teenagers.