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A Detrimental Media: Why are we not putting a full stop to it?

All of us today, are living beneath the filter. It is creating a counterfeit image of reality, that is barely is seen on social media. The teenagers who have been stuck in the social media bubble have often met with inner conflicts and have faced psychological issues. There is not even an option to sidestep the abyssal pool of social media. 


The saying, "Be comfortable in your own skin, can be rephrased as "Be Comfortable in your own skill with the Beauty mode on." When augmented reality face filters were the new features of social media, they were filled with contrivances that eventually blurred the originality. The beauty filters can just fix some parts of your face and not change the complete appearance.


In the 2000's period, Facebook had marked the beginning of this reiteration. From that time, Facebook and Instagram have claimed that over 600 million people have used this augmented reality once in their life. Mark Zuckerberg recently commented, "The combination of augmented reality and virtual reality is going to be the next major computing platform, and I think it makes sense to invest deeply in shaping that."


 The Pernicious Effect of Instagram


Increasing rates of anxiety and depression because of Instagram are brought to notice by teenagers. Facebook has been aware of this issue that 1 in 3 girls is facing body image issues. According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook has been acquainted with the issue that Instagram is harmful to teenage girls. The teenagers are trying to escape from the aversive reality. It is just an illusion that will fade away. The digital connections are like a fragile string, which can be easily broken with time. Facebook has been studying and examining the harmful psychological and physical effects on teenage girls. While tracing the data, about 13% of British users and 6% of American users had suicidal thoughts due to Instagram. The researchers have found out that 32% of girls and 14% of boys in the US were anxious about their body and Instagram was just, like the icing on the cake! 


Karina Newton, the chief of public policy wrote on Instagram, "The question on many people's minds is if social media is a boon or bane for them? The answer to this is that it can be both. Instagram has always been criticized by the users and the makers for the harmful content that is being produced on the platform and that is encouraging psychological health issues in the youngsters." Keeping in mind this issue, Josh Hawley tweeted on his Twitter, “Facebook is well aware that Instagram is a toxic medium for teenagers but they are trying to keep up their business and not providing a solution. They are way too busy shutting out conservative and stiff Link free speech". Rohit Chopra raised his concern on Twitter by tweeting," Facebook knew that Instagram is harmful to teens, still it continued. Because of the financial incentives embedded in the company's surveillance-based business model, it is another sign that the company is untrustworthy.”


Instagram has always focused on the body and lifestyle of people. Through the content that is generated on these platforms, it builds up a pressure that “ You need to be perfect and have a pretentious lifestyle.” All these have induced the problems of eating disorders, depression, and lack of self-confidence. There was also news that Facebook will launch an Instagram app that suits the youngster’s needs. To this, Mark Zuckerberg had defended the plan to launch a new product.  


Exposing the Sloppiness of Facebook


Zuckerberg had claimed that the company has researched young children. In August, several lawmakers had inquired and asked Facebook to send the research that they carried out on how is mental well-being affected by Instagram. Facebook in return, had sent the 6-page long letter to them, which didn’t include the research.


Instagram has more than 500 million daily users, where 40% of the users are of 22 years of age. The key target of Instagram is the young audience. Facebook has always claimed that it is providing equal space to all its readers. But the report has busted the misconduct. In reality, it is creating a system that will exclude high-profile users like politicians, celebrities, leaders, and experts who have been spared from some of the content rules of Instagram.  


To address the ongoing  issue, five presentations were made on the topic - ‘Mental Health.’ The studies by several researchers and observers state that psychological stress is not natural in youngsters, but is caused by photo-sharing applications. Richard Blumenthal, Ed Markey, and Congress Woman Lori Trahan are seeking answers from Mark Zuckerberg. More interestingly, the employees of Facebook have kept their children away or have completely restricted them from using these platforms.


 Facebook’s Counter Reply to Criticisms


How is Facebook trying to safeguard itself from immense criticism? Karina Newton has an answer and a solution to the surging issue. She said, "We will continue to work on in order to address negative social comparisons and body image concerns. From our research, we understood what kind of content really is leading to negative social comparison. We are finding ways in which the users can look at the different topics and avoid disturbing content.” People should look at the content that not only inspires but also motivates them and that is what Instagram focuses on. In March 2021, Mark Zuckerberg had told Congress that Instagram has positive effects on teenagers.


 Not today but for many months,  Facebook has been denying the truth from the experts and its users. All the questions that have been raised have been answered vaguely and are very evasive. Let’s see whether this issue which is raised is not suppressed by the Media Giant. 


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