Less politics on Facebook and a new Instagram feature aimed to encourage youngsters to take a break and spend less time on social media, but most importantly, to avoid stuff that is harmful to their psychological well-being. These are the remedies announced by the internet giant in response to the Wall Street Journal study and computer engineer Frances Haugen’s testimony before Congress on the impact of some content published on these platforms on the mental health of young people.
The results from an internal business analysis had revealed detrimental psychological impacts, according to an American newspaper. Documents provided to the editors by Haugen, who began working for Facebook in 2019 before resigning in April of this year: during an interview with 60 Minutes, the developer said that the Menlo Park company would develop algorithms that amplify so-called hate speech and accused it of putting profits ahead of people’s well-being. Claims that were disputed by the social network’s co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg, who branded the claims ” ridiculous”.
The Vice President of Facebook, Nick Clegg Global Affairs, explained in What are the current steps that, for the time being, everything is still in the planning stage and no release date for future functionality has been announced. More specifically, a new technology will enable kids to avoid content that may be detrimental to their mental health: “When our technologies detect that a teen is continually reading a specific type of information that may be damaging to their mental health.” We will force him to look at alternative stuff if we injure him.”
What will occur on Instagram?
The manager went on to say that not only has the tech business put a halt to the Instagram Kids project, which is aimed at children, but it also aims to construct a new feature called Take a break, which will encourage boys and girls to take a vacation from social media photographs.
According to The Verge, these are new capabilities whose concept was first offered by Instagram’s CEO, Adam Mosseri, in a post published last September, which also spoke of the company’s dedication to developing tools that allow parents to monitor their children’s accounts.
At the same time, Facebook wants to minimise the appearance of political content in the News Feed: Clegg added that the firm decided to follow up on a request from members who want to “see more friends. and less politics.” A decision that follows the decision to remove the exceptional security measures implemented by the technology giant for the most recent American presidential elections: temporary measures, because they were only introduced for that particular polarising situation, and which also ended up weighing on the publication and performance of videos and harmless and legitimate content.
The manager reiterated the platform’s efforts to combat disinformation, but evaded a question from CNN journalist Dana Bash, who asked if the algorithms amplified the voices of those who participated in the 6 January assault on the Capitol: he explained that he couldn’t answer with a yes or no, “because we have thousands of algorithms and millions of people who use them.”