Society is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of mental health. However, this awareness clashes directly with areas such as social media. The functioning and design of these platforms often lead many users into a whirlpool of comparisons, numbers, and easy entertainment, with detrimental consequences for our psyche.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, knows better than anyone the ins and outs of social networks and how to make the most of them. If he has to set aside the mental health of users to achieve this, so be it. At least, that’s what internal documents from Meta have suggested, which became public due to an ongoing lawsuit against the company, as reported by CNN.
In this case, it’s a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General of Massachusetts against Meta and Instagram. The reason? Allegedly promoting “unfair and deceptive practices that harm young people.”
Through these internal communications, it has been revealed that Zuckerberg personally thwarted several initiatives aimed at improving the mental health of teenagers on Facebook and Instagram. Some of the accusations include encouraging Meta to increase the amount of time users spend on Instagram.
Well-being was never the priority
In 2019, Zuckerberg rejected a proposal to remove beauty filters on Instagram. Much has been said about these filters and their consequences, such as promoting unrealistic expectations about our own body image. In April 2022, Zuckerberg wrote to several employees stating that there was a high demand for filters and that there were no data suggesting they were harmful, according to the lawsuit.
But that’s not all. After the controversial decision to keep the filters, Nick Clegg (President of Global Affairs at Meta) pressured Zuckerberg to strengthen the company’s position regarding mental well-being. The CEO of Meta remained silent and responded to Clegg through the Chief Financial Officer, clarifying that “the staff was too limited to address the request.”
The lawsuit also included an internal company presentation that was quite revealing. In it, Instagram was described as seeking to hook teenagers with dopamine hits through notifications, likes, followers, and more.