Zuckerberg: “I Think Instagram Is A Super Positive Space”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent nearly three hours on The Joe Rogan Experience yesterday, mostly answering questions about virtual reality, content moderation, censorship and government oversight. Much of the media coverage has centered on communications between the FBI and Meta about the Hunter Biden laptop story.

But in another part of the conversation, Zuckerberg offered a sunny take on his company’s Instagram platform, which has come under increased criticism in the past year since Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen went public with her concerns about the impact that the company’s products are having on Americans.

“I think Instagram is a super positive space,” Zuckerberg told Rogan. “I think some of the critiques we get there is that it’s very curated and potentially, in some ways, overly positive…It’s easy to spend time there, and kind of absorb a lot of the positivity.”

That assessment stands directly opposite that put forth by Haugen last year.

“Instagram is about bodies and comparing lifestyles,” she said, a focus that she — and Facebook’s own internal research — indicates causes great harm to many users, especially teen girls.

“Thirty-two percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse,” reads a quote from the company’s internal research in 2020 that was obtained by the Wall Street Journal. “Comparisons on Instagram can change how young women view and describe themselves.”

Further, among those teens expressing having had suicidal thoughts, 13% of the platform’s U.K.-based users and 6% of its U.S. users traced the desire to kill themselves to Instagram, the documents revealed.

Haugen told Congress last year that of internal recommendations put forth to address those findings and others about political discourse: “Again and again, those recommendations were disregarded.”

Instagram chief Adam Mosseri told the Journal, “In no way do I mean to diminish these issues…Some of the issues mentioned in this story aren’t necessarily widespread, but their impact on people may be huge.”

He stressed that the findings weren’t a black eye for the company, but a sign of critical introspection.

“For me, this isn’t dirty laundry. I’m actually very proud of this research.”

You can watch a portion of Rogan’s Zukerberg interview, where the Meta leader discusses political discourse on his platforms, below.

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