If drugs and alcohol are dangerous and addictive and so is Facebook, then why shouldn't Facebook be regulated?
The Wall Street Journal recently published a series of articles detailing the harmful, and oftentimes only known by Facebook, effects that Facebook has on the general public. From increasing the likelihood of teen girls committing suicide, to having a weak response to drug cartels and human traffickers utilizing the platform, Facebook has done little to earn the public's trust. A recent whistleblower has come out and exposed many of these concerning issues.
Authenticity on social media is a key goal of ours. Numerous studies have shown the damaging effect that unrealistic photoshopped images have on a person’s body image issues. Facebook’s knowledge of how harmful its products are on teenage girls comes to no surprise.
Being bombarded with eating disorder images, body workouts, and photoshopped models, it’s no wonder 23% of teen girls said Instagram made their body issues worse. Because of Instagram’s algorithm, it shows images in one’s feed that will keep them hooked – harmful or not. Compared to some applications, even if a user spends hours looking at images promoting eating disorders, Facebook will not flag this activity.
Facebook aims to keep the user on the application as long and as frequent as possible – no matter the cost. As Frances Haugen proclaimed, “Facebook repeatedly puts profit over users’ safety.” Keeping users on the applications generates more interest from advertisers, and thus increases profits. She even went as far to compare Facebook’s addictiveness to big tobacco.
Frances Haugen's testimony only furthers shows the need for better regulation of social media sites. If drugs and alcohol are dangerous and addictive and so is Facebook, then why shouldn't Facebook be regulated? Frances Haugen has called for a regulatory oversight committee that would help to set guidelines and restrictions to these powerful social media companies. As an organization that aims for authenticity and social well-being, Francis Haugen has clearly displayed the increasing need for better regulation and accountability from these organizations.
In the next coming weeks we hope to see more action taken from lawmakers. In this time we invite you, our readers, to educate yourself on this issue. If you use social media, do you do so in a healthy way? What are some healthy practices when using the application? If you'd like to see Francis Haugen's interview with 60 Minutes, we've provided the link below.