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How two young women say Instagram has endangered their lives

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At the age of 14, Ashley Thomas was on the verge of loss of appetite.

Her weight was 85 pounds. She was hospitalized. Her heart stopped twice. The doctor thought she wouldn’t survive.

But she did. And now, residents of New South Wales, Australia, are devoting their lives to helping other girls. Her first warning to parents and children is about the dangers of Instagram, and Thomas says her near-death journey has begun.

In the app, Thomas began to follow the influential people of “clean meals”. She was an athlete looking for the best fit body she could make. And the body she thought was ideal flowed into her timeline every day, and every “like” and comment tempted her to emulate the type of body she saw.

“I was loved and wanted to be loved like them,” said Thomas, now 20 years old.

“I wanted to taste it”

But the opposite happened. She began to hate herself.

One commenter wrote that her stomach was fat in response to the photo that Thomas posted in his photo. At some point she stopped eating. She said her parents tried everything to feed her. Child welfare authorities were called to them because they relied on force-feeding her.

“It’s time to sit down and remember that my dad had his chin open and his mom ate food and refused to eat,” recalls Thomas.

“There are no quick fixes for this.”

As emphasized in Congress, Thomas’ struggle is just one example of Instagram’s potential “toxic” effects on teenage girls. Facebook whistleblower Francis Haugen’s testimony on Tuesday..

“I believe Facebook’s products harm children, cause divisions, and undermine our democracy.” HowgenA 37-year-old former Facebook product manager, he told the Senate subcommittee that he worked on the issue of civil integrity at the company.

Facebook’s own internal investigation. Submission to Hogen’s Securities and Exchange Commission“13.5% of Instagram teenage girls say the platform exacerbates the idea of’suicide and self-harm’,” and 17% said the platform has “dietary problems” such as loss of appetite. It states that it will make it worse.

The study also claimed that the Facebook platform “exacerbates the body image problem of one in three teenage girls.” (Instagram is owned by Facebook.)

“The company’s leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram more secure, but it prioritizes astronomical interests over people, so it doesn’t make the necessary changes,” Hogen said in his opening remarks. rice field. “Parliamentary action is needed. They cannot resolve this crisis without your help.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg used the platform he built to protect the company from Hogen’s claimsIn a 1,300-word statement, the study of tech giants on their effects on children was misrepresented.

“We are deeply interested in issues such as safety, well-being and mental health,” Zuckerberg wrote.

“Most of the claims make no sense. If you want to ignore research, why create an industry-leading research program to understand these important issues in the first place,” he added.

In a statement, Facebook challenged the interpretation of the survey, arguing that the percentage was much lower. The company also said it welcomed the regulation.

Still, those familiar with the mechanics of the tech world say it will take more time to save teens.

“Their business model puts children in this kind of engagement loop,” said Tristan Harris, co-founder of the Humanitarian Technology Center. “And that’s what I’m really worried about … there’s no quick fix for this. That’s the essential nature of the product.”

According to experts, the content of extreme diet accounts can act as a verification of users who are already prone to unhealthy behavior.

Pamela Keel, director of Eating Behaviors Research Clinic at Florida State University, said posting photos on Instagram raised concerns about weight, shape, appearance, and dissatisfaction.

“This is actually one of the most powerful risk factors for developing an eating disorder,” she said.

According to Kiel, Instagram’s wide reach between young women and girls means that such content posted on that platform can be particularly dangerous.

“You should be dead”

In a video from her family, Thomas is seen screaming and crying when her parents demand that she eat.

“I can’t,” she exclaimed.

“Open your mouth, put it in and swallow it,” she said in another video.

“When I was hospitalized, the doctor told me,” I don’t know why you are here. You should be dead, “remembered Thomas. “Actually at the hospital … my heart failed twice.”

Thomas admits that she was “extremely addicted” to Instagram.

Anastasia Vlasova, a survivor of an eating disorder who lives in New York and attends New York University Gallatin, said she had a similar experience.

“I’m definitely addicted to Instagram,” she said.

Urassowa was fascinated by the image of a woman with a deeply carved body and perfect abdominal muscles. She said that the better she saw, the worse she felt about herself.

“I have these messages that you have to exercise daily, or you have to do these types of exercise, or you have to continue this type of diet and avoid these foods. I was attacked by everything, “she said.

Now 18 years old, Vlasova called it “unhealthy attachment” and afflicted many young people of his age.

According to young women, Instagram not only failed to crack down on accounts that promote extreme diets and eating disorders, but also endangered their lives by actively promoting those accounts.

“We don’t have to get to the hospital bed, we don’t need to be fed through the nose or stomach, or parents say goodbye to us because your platform is hungry for us. You need to tell or hand over the rights of your parents, either on your own or to eat cleanly. “

If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, the National Eating Disorders Association (USA) has access to telephone, text, and chat services. Website Phone and chat services are available at Beat (UK) Website.

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