Leftist tech publication Wired recently wrote about how Facebook’s Instagram algorithm kept showing one young mother videos and pictures of sick, dying, or dead children.
Young women and teen girls are particularly harmed by the constant barrage of bad content on social media platforms, and China’s TikTok just amplifies the negativity.
Spreading fear, to reduce population.
— CAA (@TheRoboCartMan) July 7, 2022
In a report headlined “Instagram Keeps Showing Me Children’s Tragedies,” Wired claims that a young mother was routinely exposed to videos and images of sick, dying, or dead children after the Instagram algorithm tracked her web browsing and discovered that she had just given birth.
The Instagram algorithm seemed to have picked up on her months of Googling typical new parent issues about her pregnancy and kids and added to her anxieties.
But throughout this first year of fatherhood, I’ve been consistently astonished and alarmed by something on my screen. I’ve found myself mesmerized by articles about infants and kids who are unwell, dying, or dead during calm nap times spent going through my feeds. I can’t flip away the videos of women suffering the tragic loss of their children as I watch recipe breakdowns and home makeovers on TikTok.
These videos continue to show up on my screen despite the visceral agony they create because I watch them. Raptly. I can recall the names and situations of these vulnerable kids, whether they have San Filippo syndrome, are undergoing chemotherapy, or have recently passed away from myocarditis or SIDs.
Am I watching material concerning ill and deceased infants for pleasure purposes, similar to how someone may watch a horror film? I believe that there are some similarities between my actions in this situation and those of devoted true-crime viewers, who devour graphic accounts of actual violence—including kidnappings—with such zeal that they have sparked a surge in the popularity of all things gruesome and violent.
According to Facebook’s own internal studies, Instagram is equally harmful to adolescent girls. The WSJ detailed the company’s own results in internal research that was published as part of its “Facebook Files” series.
According to the researchers’ March 2020 slide presentation, which The Wall Street Journal has received, “32% of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse.” “Comparisons on Instagram can change how young women view and describe themselves.”