Danish psychologist Lotte Rubæk has resigned from Meta's expert team for suicide and self-harm prevention. A throwback as unexpected as it is sensational, which brings to the forefront the delicate relationship between social media and mental health, particularly among younger users. By announcing his resignation, revealed exclusively by Guardian, Rubæk pointed the finger at his (former) employers. Meta, accuses the Danish psychologist, of “turning a blind eye” to potentially dangerous content circulating on Instagram, ignoring expert advice and focusing exclusively on corporate profits. Rubæk's criticisms are particularly aimed at efforts – considered insufficient – to remove images of self-harm, which, according to the expert, are pushing more and more young women to harm themselves, or even commit suicide.

Resignation (with controversy)

“I can no longer be part of the Meta think tank, because I no longer believe that our voice has a truly positive impact on the safety of children and young people on your platforms,” Rubæk wrote in his resignation letter. The Danish psychologist accuses business leaders of not taking the issue of self-harm seriously enough and focusing on other priorities. Which? “Make your users interact and earn their money,” Rubæk explains bluntly. The resignation of the Danish psychologist, one of Meta's leading experts on suicide and self-harm prevention, is part of a much wider controversy over the negative effects of social media on mental health. Just a month ago, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube were sued by New York City for allegedly knowingly programming their platforms to create addiction among young people. At the end of January, the founder of Meta himself, Mark Zuckeberg, was pressed by certain members of the American Congress on this same issue, to the point of apologizing to the families of young people who had suffered damage due to the use of his platforms .

Meta's answer

Lotte Rubæk's criticism of Meta is nothing new. The difference is that this time, they do not come from politicians, associations or courts, but from a person who, until a few days ago, worked for Zuckerberg's platforms . “Suicide and self-harm are complex issues and we take them incredibly seriously,” the Menlo Park-based company responded. “We have been consulting with safety experts, including those on our Suicide and Self-Harm Advisory Group, for many years, and their feedback has helped us continue to make significant progress in this area,” Meta said in a statement. And to demonstrate its goodwill, the giant led by Mark Zuckerberg announced the introduction of new measures for the prevention of suicide and self-harm: “We will hide content that talks about suicide and self-harm among adolescents, even if shared by someone they follow, one of many updates we've made after extensive discussion with our consultants.

Cover photo: UNSPLASH/Claudio Schwarz

Read also:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *