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Instagram internal research: ‘We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls’

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acastro_190919_1777_instagram_0003.0.0.j Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

How bad is Instagram for the mental health of its younger users? It’s a hugely important question, especially with Facebook planning to launch a version of the app for children.

A new report from The Wall Street Journal suggests the answer is “pretty bad,” based on internal research conducted by Facebook that it’s been unwilling to share with the public. The WSJ recently got access to these in-depth studies, which paint a bleak picture of the detrimental effects Instagram has on its younger users, particularly teenage girls.

For this latter group, Instagram is a powerful engine for “social comparison” — when one judges one’s own value, attractiveness, and success based on comparisons with others. Teenage girls are often blasted with...

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