Measuring social media impacts on mental health
Guest: Nathaniel Lubin
In the fall of 2021, Whistleblower Frances Haugen—a former member of the Civic Integrity team at Meta—shared a cache of more than 1,300 documents that would come to be known collectively as the Facebook Papers. A key takeaway from Frances Haugen’s testimony to Congress in 2022 was that Meta executives were aware of the real-world harms of their product, and yet did little to nothing to avert it. Yet despite the Facebook Papers, the reality is that we know very little about the exact impact of product design decisions made by social media companies on social harms such as mental health or even incitement to violence. In other words, we do not have standardized processes for evaluating product changes for societal harms, nor do we have metrics that can adequately measure, trend, compare and contrast harms across various social media. We also lack mechanisms to separate causation from correlation.
Please join us for a conversation with Nathaniel Lubin, a “Rebooting Social Media” or RSM fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center, as we discuss whether the emergence of such transparent processes could help us build or reform these systems to preserve the positive impacts while mitigate the societal harms?
Hosted by: Alexa Raad and Leslie Daigle.
- Read the Facebook Papers for Yourself, Hundreds of internal documents formed the basis of dozens of news stories. They have not been made public, until now, Gizmodo
- We Need a Germ Theory for the Internet, The Atlantic
- How Tech Regulation Can Leverage Product Experimentation Results, Lawfare Media
- How to Assess Platform Impacts on Mental Health and Civic Norms, Tech Policy Press
- Surgeon General Issues New Advisory About Effects Social Media Use Has on Youth Mental Health
- Accountability Infrastructure: How to implement limits on platform optimization to protect population health, Whitepaper
- Platform Accountability and Transparency Act (PATA)
The views and opinions expressed in this program are our own and may not reflect the views or positions of our employers.