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TikTok, Snap and Facebook questioned on body image

15 December 2020

The Women and Equalities Committee examines what is their perception of the impact they are having on young people’s body image? Do they acknowledge and recognise the problems raised throughout our inquiry? Do they, or will they in the future commit to funding research into their impact to learn how they can improve their services?

Witnesses

Thursday 16 December 2020, virtual meeting

At 2.30pm

  • Alexandra Evans, Head of Child Safety Public Policy Europe, TikTok
  • Henry Turnball, Head of Public Policy UK & the Nordics, Snap
  • Richard Earley, UK Public Policy Manager, Facebook

Session will also consider:

Content: People often see very different content despite using the same platforms. How does the use of algorithims impact people’s body image? In our survey last summer, hundreds of respondents commented on the way social media companies repeatedly push content like, for example, muscle building and weight loss, which can contribute to people feeling pressured to change their appearance. Similarly, algorithim bias can encourage appearance ideals, particularly ‘white washing’ feeds.

Image editing: This has been discussed throughout the inquiry due to Luke Evans MP’s upcoming Digitally Altered Images Bill. Evidence received on this has been mixed. What’s the impact of image editing and filtering, discriminatory and offensive filters? What they can do to prevent further appearance pressures particularly on young people.

Safeguarding: How are rules and community guidelines managed and enforced? What partnerships do social media companies have with organisations, companies and charities to prevent poor body image? How effective are these safeguarding policies?

Advertising: the committee has received lots of evidence that users find ads on social media regularly enhancing their body dissatisfaction. How effective are ad-screening systems, who is responsible for ads that breach advertising codes, and how do they work with the ASA?

Regulation: The Government published their full response to the Online Harms White Paper yesterday and the Committee will get the opportunity to question social media companies on the ways in which future legislation could impact safeguarding and advertising policies to protect users from body-image related harms.

Further information

Image: Pixabay