Oct 6, 2021

Op-Ed on Facebook Whistleblower Cites Alum danah boyd’s Research

From NBC News

Facebook's whistleblower is prompting some users to log off — forever

F. Diane Barth, psychotherapist

On Tuesday, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testified in front of Congress about the ways she says the social media giant is, to generalize a bit, making America worse. Her allegations helped support a Wall Street Journal “deep dive” into Facebook that reports the company has ignored warnings about the negative impact of its platforms and, in some cases, hidden facts about those impacts from the public. (Facebook, not surprisingly, objects to such characterizations.)...

One of the significant criticisms aimed at Facebook is that the administrators were aware of research showing that adolescent girls are often harmed by images of other girls and women on the site, but did not take action to try to mitigate these effects. This is a painful reality for our culture generally, and according to this research, Facebook’s failing may have been particularly egregious. Still, as researcher [danah boyd] found in her own studies of adolescents, social media is simply one more platform on which many normal developmental dynamics and conflicts play out. While Facebook and Instagram do promote unrealistic body images, many advertisers and more traditional media forms have been doing the same thing for decades — way before the rise of social media.


danah boyd is a 2008 I School Ph.D. program alum.

Last updated:

October 15, 2021