This twitter thread takes a perspective that is more kind to Facebook than many other headlines and makes an argument for their actions. It was written by Nir Eyal and retweeted(how i found it) by Yan LeCun, the Chief AI Scientist at Facebook.
The first point made in the thread is a nod to Brandolini’s law, which is “The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude larger than to produce it.” After making this point, Eyal dives into the leaked documents where he points out that the majority of teens who use instagram said it has no effect on their mental health, a few said it makes them feel much better, and a even fewer said it makes them feel much worse. Next, he tries to add context to these results saying “you’d likely get similar results if you asked people how they felt after watching cable news.
What do you think the survey results would look like if you asked teens the same question about going to school?”
From here he takes a closer look and finds a correlation between the people who report Instagram makes them feel worse and people who already have lower life satisfaction. His closing remarks point out that this was a private study done by Facebook, which they did not need to do and shows they are interested in the health of their users, and that the release of the study just creates a disincentive for companies to look into their products.
I thought the thread was interesting and certainly takes a different perspective from most other articles I see. It is no secret that the media likes to inflate stories for views, so this thread makes me think a little deeper about whether or not Facebook was being malicious.