Whistleblower: Bullying follows school kids home thanks to Instagram

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Bullying follows children home from school and continues in their bedrooms at night via Instagram, a whistleblower said.

Frances Haugen, a former employee of the tech giant who made explosive disclosures about the company, told MPs and her peers that Facebook’s own research suggested Instagram was dangerous for young people.

She said the company had the ability to make a “huge dent” in the problem if they wanted to, but they don’t because “younger users are the future of the platform and the bigger they are. get them sooner, the more likely they are to hook them. ”.

“When I was in high school, it didn’t matter if your high school experience was horrible, most of the kids had good houses to go home to and they could at the end of the day log off, they would have a 16 hour break, “she explained.

“Facebook’s own research indicates that now bullying follows kids home, it goes to their bedrooms.

“The last thing they see at night is someone who is cruel to them.

“The first thing they see in the morning is a hateful statement and it’s so much worse.”

Twitter, Instagram and Facebook applications on an iPhone screen (Matthew Vincent PA)
Twitter, Instagram and Facebook applications on an iPhone screen (Matthew Vincent PA)

Ms Haugen also questioned whether Instagram could ever be safe for children.

Right now, you must be at least 13 years old to use the service, although it is easy for users to lie about their age.

Facebook was developing an Instagram Kids specifically for kids, but the idea was put on hold earlier this year due to the multitude of concerns.

“I am deeply concerned that it will not be possible to make Instagram safe for the 14-year-old and I sincerely doubt that it is possible to make it safe for a 10-year-old,” Ms Haugen said.

“What I find very misleading about Facebook’s statements regarding kids is that they say things like ‘we need Instagram Kids because kids are going to lie about their age, and so we might as well have something safe for them “.

“Facebook should have to post what they are doing to detect 13 year olds on the platform because I guarantee that what they are doing today is not enough.

“Facebook can guess your age with great accuracy. “


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