Facebook Internal Memos Reveal That The Platform Is Helpful For Lonely Individuals Scrolling For Short Periods Of Time, But Worsens The Feeling For Users Taking Longer

Facebook’s internal memos continue to hemorrhage, as data from the platform reveals that it is both helpful and harmful for individuals suffering from loneliness, as first reported by Protocol.

The slew of leaked documents and information that ex-Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen has provided to Congress, and by extension the general populace, is worthy of around a hundred articles, give or take. It’s left Facebook, parent company Meta, and fellow platforms Instagram and WhatsApp wide open to a level of scrutiny that they previously enjoyed near-full immunity from. Of course, there’s a very good chance that despite everything, Meta will continue to keep supplying harmful content to its user-bases, will continue to keep siphoning personal data off of users, and will keep on ripping off journalists regardless of what other governments say. However, far be it from me to deny that it still is fun to see the company squirm under pressure.

Frances Haugen’s major complaints with the social network is that it is a platform that actively benefits from the algorithm providing its userbase with content that is harmful and damaging to one’s mental health. The data manager previously worked with Facebook in the capacity of analyzing and monitoring political activity on the platform, which gave her a bird’s eye view to the worst that the platform has to offer. What she saw was, well, distressing. It was a platform and a company that had collectively decided that making an extra buck was worth more than the security and personal well-being of the billions that Facebook claims to harbor. Do I exaggerate? Well, let’s have a look at Facebook’s own memos and see what the platform itself thinks.
Memos reveal that the company was fully aware of the negative effect that Instagram was (or, rather, is) having on teenagers using the platform, particularly inducing body dysmorphia in female individuals. With Facebook’s aggressive expansion tactics looking to take over the Snapchat and TikTok userbase as well, the company’s memos delved into just how “social” social media can feel. The answer was mixed, but paints a clear picture. Lonely users that scrolled through Facebook for about an hour or less would feel all the better for it. However, users that stuck on for longer periods of time would only feel worse about the experience. The image that this paints to me is one of Facebook being a platform that, while useful in letting friends connect with each other, still sets up unrealistic standards that young, lonely individuals can’t hope to match.

Read next: Meta Continues To Siphon Browsing Data Off Of Minors, Despite Publicly Pledging Not To Do So
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