Instagram bombards women and girls who suffer from eating disorders with images and videos of exceedingly thin females and others afflicted with anorexia, according to research done by the app’s parent company Facebook.

Internal documents leaked to the New York Post revealed that Instagram’s algorithm curates options based on searches and preferences of users who express interest in dieting, weight loss, and thinness.

This year, Instagram researchers conducted an experiment where they typed #skinny into their search terms and were then offered the chance to browse other accounts featuring dangerously thin women and girls.

Some of the account names include ‘_skinandbones_’, ‘applecoreanorexic,’ and ‘skinny._.binge.’

Experts in eating disorders advise that young girls and women with anorexia or bulimia should not be exposed to images of people with similar problems, as it could reinforce body-related insecurity.

Teens are especially vulnerable to what’s known as ‘thinspo’ – which is short for ‘thinspiration.’

Instagram bombards women and girls who suffer from eating disorders with images and videos of exceedingly thin females and others afflicted with anorexia, according to research done by the app¿s parent company Facebook

Instagram bombards women and girls who suffer from eating disorders with images and videos of exceedingly thin females and others afflicted with anorexia, according to research done by the app’s parent company Facebook

Instagram researchers this year conducted an experiment in which they typed in terms like #skinny and #thin are then offered to browse through other accounts that feature dangerously emaciated women and girls. Some of the account names include ¿_skinandbones_¿, ¿applecoreanorexic,¿ and ¿skinny._.binge.¿

In an Instagram experiment, researchers conducted a search for terms such as #skinny or #thin. They were then invited to browse other accounts featuring dangerously thin women and girls. Some of the account names include ‘_skinandbones_’, ‘applecoreanorexic,’ and ‘skinny._.binge.’

In an apparent attempt to crack down on the proliferation of images that could exacerbate eating disorders, Instagram has attached disclaimers and warnings of potential content that could be deemed problematic

 In an apparent attempt to crack down on the proliferation of images that could exacerbate eating disorders, Instagram has attached disclaimers and warnings of potential content that could be deemed problematic

One disclaimer offers users support before being shown posts that could be harmful to their conditions

Before users are shown posts that could be detrimental to their conditions, one disclaimer provides support.

In online lingo, ‘thinspiration’ is a combination of the words ‘thin’ and ‘inspiration.’

The idea behind ‘thinspo’ is to motivate young girls and women to lose even more weight or to stay thin.

Dr. Andrea D. Vazzana, a New York University psychologist who has worked with people with eating disorders, said that even those with anorexia may be able to identify that someone is too thin.

Vazzana stated that 99 percent of her patients had reported that prolonged exposure to social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok had affected their health.

She said that those with eating disorders are particularly susceptible to images featuring models. One who suffers from anorexia might see a model’s cheekbones and seek to lose even more weight in order to mimic the body type.

Instagram has posted disclaimers and warnings about potential content that could be considered problematic in an apparent attempt to limit the spread of images that could lead to eating disorders. 

A company whistleblower leaked documents last month to The Wall Street Journal, showing that Facebook executives knew the potential harm prolonged exposure to Instagram could cause to young girls.

Instagram continued to add beauty filters to its platform despite internal company research. Experts say this has exacerbated body image-related anxiety, putting young girls at greater risk of suicide, and even placing them at greater risk.

Instagram is full of images of ultra-thin young women and girls which can be found using the hashtags #skinnygirl

Instagram is filled with images of thin young girls and women. You can find them using the hashtag #skinnygirl

The image above shows a young girl whose post includes the hashtags #skinnygirl, #skinny, #skinnylegs, and #fitwomen

The image shows a young girl who posted the hashtags #skinnygirl and #skinnylegs to her Instagram account.

Facebook has been accused of failing to heed warnings from its own engineers that Instagram made young teen girls feel worse about their own bodies

Facebook was accused of not heeding warnings from its engineers about how Instagram made young teen girls feel less confident about their bodies.

An earlier testimony before Congress was made by the whistleblower who provided the Journal with the documents.

Frances Haugen, a data analyst, claims she left the company in disgust after accusing her bosses of prioritizing safety over profits.

Haugen explained to lawmakers that tighter government oversight could reduce the dangers posed to the social network, from harming children to inciting violence to fueling misinformation.

After internal research revealed that some teens were suffering, she accused the company of failing make changes to Instagram and being dishonest about its public fight against hate speech and misinformation.

Haugen’s accusations were supported by tens, of thousands of pages worth of internal research documents she secretly copied prior to leaving her job at the company’s civic integrity division.

She also had thoughtful ideas on how Facebook’s social media platforms can be made safer.

Haugen, who shared responsibility for the company’s profits-over safety strategy with CEO Mark Zuckerberg, expressed empathy for Facebook’s problems.

Haugen, who claims she joined the company in 2019, because “Facebook has potential to bring out best in us,” said that she didn’t leak internal documents and then come before Congress to call for the destruction of the company or for its dissolution, as many consumer advocates have urged.

Former Facebook executive Frances Haugen (seen above testifying before the British parliament in London on Monday) leaked documents to The Wall Street Journal last month which showed that the company was aware of the potential danger posed by its services

Frances Haugen, an ex-executive at Facebook (seen above speaking before the British parliament in London Monday), leaked documents last month to The Wall Street Journal that showed that the company was aware the dangers associated with its services.

Haugen, a 37-year old data expert from Iowa, holds a degree from Harvard in computer engineering and a master’s in business from Harvard.

Before being hired by Facebook, she spent 15 years working at tech companies like Google, Pinterest, and Yelp.


Question: What are the most memorable things you have experienced in the past month? Did any of these feelings start on Instagram? All of that applies

Not attractive

41% (US).

43% (UK)

 Don’t have enough money

42% (US).

42% (UK)

 Don’t have enough friends

32% (US).

33% (UK)

 Down, sad or depressed

10% (US).

13% (UK)

 Wanted to kill themselves

6% (US).

13% (UK)

 They wanted to hurt themselves

9% (US).

7% (UK)

Question: In general, how has Instagram affected the way you feel about yourself, your mental health? 

Even worse

US boys and girls: 3 %

US boys: 2%

US girls: 3% 

UK total: 2%

UK boys: 1%

UK girls: 2% 

 Somewhat worse

US total: 16%

US Boys 12%

US girls 18% 

 UK total: 19%

UK boys: 13%

UK girls: 23%

 No effect

US total: 41%

US boys: 37%

43% of US girls

UK total: 46%

UK boys: 50%

UK girls 44% 

 Somewhat better

US total: 29%

US boys: 32%

US girls: 29% 

UK total: 28%

UK boys: 31%

UK girls: 26%

 Much better

US total: 12%

US boys: 18%

US girls 8%

UK total: 5%

UK boys: 5%

UK girls: 4%


Haugen stated that Facebook’s products harm children and stoke division.

“The company’s leadership knows how Facebook and Instagram can be safer, but they won’t make necessary changes because they have placed their enormous profits before the people.

She said that Congress needs to act. They won’t solve this problem without your help.

Zuckerberg addressed employees of Facebook and disputed Haugen’s portrayal of the company putting profit above the well-being its users or pushing divisive content.

Zuckerberg wrote, “At the most fundamental level, I think most people just don’t recognize that false picture of the company being painted,”

However, he did appear to agree to Haugen about the need for updated internet regulations. He stated that this would free private companies from having make decisions on social matters on their own.

Zuckerberg wrote that while we are committed to doing the best job possible, at some level, the right body for assessing tradeoffs between social equity is our democratically elected Congress. 

Facebook bosses claim Instagram makes teenage girl feel BETTER after exposing claiming bosses to research that revealed photo sharing app made a third of teens feel worse regarding their body image 

According to the documents given to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook had known for two years now that Instagram is toxic for young girls but continued to add beauty-editing filters to the app, despite six per cent of suicidal girls in America blaming it for their desire to kill themselves

According to The Wall Street Journal documents, Facebook knew for two years that Instagram was toxic for young girls, but continued to add beauty-editing filter to the app despite six percent of suicide-minded girls in America blaming the app for their desire to kill. 

Facebook last month pushed back against claims that it has long known that its subsidiary Instagram was harmful to teenage girls’ mental health – arguing instead that the app actually makes most of them feel better about themselves.

The Wall Street Journal quoted a review of documents within the company that included research reports, online employee discussions, and drafts of presentations to senior managers. The Wall Street Journal stated that even though Facebook researchers had identified ‘the platform’s ill effects’, they were not able to fix them.

The most widely reported and damaging claim revolved around a statistic that showed that Instagram made a third more teenage girls feel bad about their body images than they did.  

Facebook however, disagreed with the Journal investigation. 

The company published a blog post written by Pratiti Raychoudhury, Facebook’s vice president of research.

Raychoudhury writes that it is not true that this research shows Instagram is “toxic” to teen girls.

“The research actually showed that many teens feel that Instagram helps them when they are dealing with the same difficult moments and issues that teenagers have faced in the past.

Raychoudhury wrote that while some girls had issues with their body image following exposure to Instagram, others reported feeling better in other areas like loneliness, anxiety and eating problems.

Raychoudhury writes, “Body image was where teenage girls who reported struggling with this issue said Instagram made it worse”

“But, here also, the majority teenage girls who had body image problems reported that Instagram either made it worse or had little impact.”

Raychoudhury claims that the Journal ‘implied that we were hiding this research and that the results are surprising, but that is simply not accurate.’

Facebook claims that the newspaper failed to ‘put specific findings in context’ and that the research cited ‘did not measure causal relationships between Instagram and real-world issues.’

It also mentioned the number of teens who were surveyed for some of its findings. According to the report, only 40 teenagers answered some questions. This meant that it was impossible to report their concerns to the social media site.  

Raychoudhury also cites Pew and Harvard studies which show that young people generally view social media positively.

The company published a blog post last month arguing that teenage girls who use Instagram actually end up feeling better about themselves. As evidence, it cited the above chart

The company published a blog last month arguing that teens who use Instagram feel better about their self-esteem. It cited the chart above as evidence. 

A Pew Internet survey found that 81 percent said social media helps them connect with one another, though 43 percent said they felt pressure to post things that make them ‘look good.’

Raychoudhury writes that Facebook has used the internal research cited by the Journal to ‘inform changes to our apps and provide resources for the people who use them.’

Among the changes that the company has introduced include ‘new resources to support those struggling with body image issues’ as well as removing ‘all graphic content related to suicide.’

Raychoudhury also touts a new feature which ‘allows people to protect themselves from bullying.’

Facebook accused the Journal of omitting data from its story, including one study which found that ‘among teenage girls who said they had felt sadness in the past month, 57 percent said Instagram made things better, and 34 percent said Instagram had no impact.’

According to Facebook, just 9 percent said that the app made their feelings worse.

Facebook also took issue with the Journal’s claim that 13 percent of British users and 6 percent of Americans ‘traced the desire to kill themselves to Instagram,’ citing an internal company presentation.

Raychoudhury said that about 1% of the teens who took the survey felt suicidal and that they felt they had started on Instagram.

“In addition to this, some of the same research cited in the slide above shows how 38 percent of teenage girls who stated they struggle with suicidal thought and self harm said Instagram made them feel better, and 49 per cent said it has no effect. 

According to the Journal, Facebook exempted prominent users from certain or all its rules, minimized the negative effects on young Instagram users, changed its algorithm to make it ‘angrier’, and did not respond to employees’ concerns about how the platform was used by human traffickers in developing countries.

The company disagrees. It claims that Instagram is three times more popular in the UK and US than it is in the US. 

The social network posted a rebuttal to The Wall Street Journal’s investigation which cited internal company documents stating that its engineers knew Instagram was having adverse effects on teens’ body image.