- Contrary to The Wall Street Journal’s characterization, Instagram’s research shows that on 11 of 12 well-being issues, teenage girls who said they struggled with those difficult issues also said that Instagram made them better rather than worse.
- This research, like external research on these issues, found teens report having both positive and negative experiences with social media.
- We do internal research to find out how we can best improve the experience for teens, and our research has informed product changes as well as new resources.
In advance of Facebook’s Global Head of Safety Antigone Davis appearing before a Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Thursday, we want to be clear about what the research recently characterized by The Wall Street Journal shows, and what it does not show.
It is simply not accurate that this research demonstrates Instagram is “toxic” for teen girls. The research actually demonstrated that many teens we heard from feel that using Instagram helps them when they are struggling with the kinds of hard moments and issues teenagers have always faced. In fact, in 11 of 12 areas on the slide referenced by the Journal — including serious areas like loneliness, anxiety, sadness and eating issues — more teenage girls who said they struggled with that issue also said that Instagram made those difficult times better rather than worse. Body image was the only area where teen girls who reported struggling with the issue said Instagram made it worse as compared to the other 11 areas. But here also, the majority of teenage girls who experienced body image issues still reported Instagram either made it better or had no impact. We go into more details below on how the research actually lines up with what The Wall Street Journal claimed.
In addition to putting specific findings in context, it is also critical to make the nature of this research clear. This research, some of which relied on input from only 40 teens, was designed to inform internal conversations about teens’ most negative perceptions of Instagram. It did not measure causal relationships between Instagram and real-world issues. These documents were also created for and used by people who understood the limitations of the research, which is why they occasionally used shorthand language, particularly in the headlines, and do not explain the caveats on every slide.
Studying these big societal issues and what impacts them is nuanced and complex. The Journal article implied that we were hiding this research and that the results are surprising, but that is simply not accurate. Not only have we talked about the strengths and weaknesses of social media and well-being publicly for more than a decade, external researchers have, too. For example, a survey and interviews from Harvard found that teens viewed social media “predominantly” positively, though they reported both positive and negative impacts on their relationships and self-expression. And a Pew Internet survey reported the majority of teens credit social media for positive outcomes, like 81% said it helps them connect, while some also pointed to its negative impacts, like 43% said they felt pressure to post things that make them “look good.”
Our internal research is part of our effort to minimize the bad on our platforms and maximize the good. We invest in this research to proactively identify where we can improve — which is why the worst possible results are highlighted in the internal slides. That’s why the most important thing about this research is what we’ve done with it. We have a long track record of using our research — as well as external research and close collaboration with our Safety Advisory Board, Youth Advisors and additional experts and organizations — to inform changes to our apps and provide resources for the people who use them. For example on Instagram:
Below, we contrast what The Wall Street Journal said versus what the research showed:
WSJ said: “Repeatedly, the company’s researchers found that Instagram is harmful for a sizable percentage of them [young users], most notably teenage girls. ‘We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls,’ said one slide from 2019, summarizing research about teen girls who experience the issues.”
What the data shows: The slide in question, which The Wall Street Journal did not publish as part of their report and we’re releasing below, shows that Instagram helps many teens who are struggling with some of the hardest issues they experience. On 11 of the 12 issues in the slide referenced by the Journal, such as eating issues, loneliness, anxiety and sadness, teenage girls who said they experienced these challenges were more likely to say that Instagram made these issues better vs. worse.¹ The one exception was body image. While the headline in the internal slide does not explicitly state it, the research shows one in three of those teenage girls who told us they were experiencing body image issues reported that using Instagram made them feel worse — not one in three of all teenage girls. This is an important difference that is not explicit in the Journal’s reporting. And, among those same girls who said they were struggling with body image issues, 22% said that using Instagram made them feel better about their body image issues and 45.5% said that Instagram didn’t make it either better or worse (no impact).
WSJ said: “Teen boys aren’t immune. In the deep dive Facebook’s researchers conducted into mental health in 2019, they found that 14% of boys in the US said Instagram made them feel worse about themselves. In their report on body image in 2020, Facebook’s researchers found that 40% of teen boys experience negative social comparison.”
What the data shows: What the study also said was that 50% of US and 36% of UK teenage boys (who use Instagram and filled out a survey) say they feel better about themselves after using Instagram, including 18% of US teenage boys saying they felt “much better.” In fact, on 12 out of the 12 issues in the slide referenced above — such as eating issues, loneliness, anxiety and sadness — teenage boys who said they experienced some of these challenges were more likely to say that Instagram made these issues better vs. worse.
WSJ said: “‘Teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression,’ said another slide. ‘This reaction was unprompted and consistent across all groups.’”
What the data shows: This finding comes from a set of focus groups of a small sample of 40 teenage Instagram users in the US and UK who struggle with body image, self-esteem, negative mood and/or other issues. What the Journal left out was another key finding from the same study: that the same teenage users say the overall effects of Instagram are positive for them. Additionally, based on the research the Journal left out, 8 out of 10 US teens who use Instagram and filled out a survey said Instagram either made them feel better about themselves or had no effect on how they feel about themselves. Here are some other important details from the slide above:
- Among those teenage girls who said they had felt sadness in the past month, 57% said Instagram made things better, and 34% said Instagram had no impact. 9% said Instagram made it worse.
- Among those teenage girls who said they had experienced loneliness in the past month, 51% said Instagram made things better, and 36% said Instagram had no impact. 13% said Instagram made it worse.
- Again, among those teenage girls who said they had experienced anxiety in the past month, the numbers are similar: 40% said Instagram made things better, and 48% said it made no difference. 12% said Instagram made things worse.
WSJ said: “Among teens who reported suicidal thoughts, 13% of British users and 6% of American users traced the desire to kill themselves to Instagram, one presentation showed.”
What the data shows: When we take a step back and look at the full data set, about 1% of the entire group of teens who took the survey said they had suicidal thoughts that they felt started on Instagram.² Of course, even one person who feels this started on Instagram is one too many. That is why we have invested so heavily in support, resources and interventions for people using our services. In addition, some of the same research cited by the Journal in the slide above shows that 38% of teenage girls who said they struggled with suicidal thoughts and self harm said Instagram made these issues better for them, and 49% said it has no impact.
WSJ said: “But a mounting body of Facebook’s own evidence shows Instagram can be damaging for many. In one study of teens in the US and UK Facebook found that more than 40% of Instagram users who reported feeling ‘unattractive’ said the feeling began on the app. About a quarter of the teens who reported feeling ‘not good enough’ said the feeling started on Instagram. Many also said the app undermined their confidence in the strength of their friendships.”
What the data shows: One of the studies cited by the Journal highlights that teens using Instagram in the US and UK are roughly 3 times more likely to say that Instagram makes them feel better about their life rather than worse about it.³ But that’s exactly why we’ve invested in this research — and because we’ve made these investments, we’ve been able to set up a specific effort to work on these issues to minimize the bad and maximize the good. Suggesting that Instagram is toxic for teens is simply not backed up by the facts.
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Celebrating many identities within a global community of impact: An Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month conversation
Srinivas Prasad Sugasani: It’s such fun to connect with you on Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. As Asians and Pacific Islanders, I feel that we have so much to celebrate. At the same time, as we think about some of the events and realities that we have navigated recently, I’m curious from your perspective,…
Srinivas Prasad Sugasani: It’s such fun to connect with you on Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. As Asians and Pacific Islanders, I feel that we have so much to celebrate. At the same time, as we think about some of the events and realities that we have navigated recently, I’m curious from your perspective, Jane, what do you feel is different about this past year?
Jane Hesmondhalgh: We’ve continued on our journey of working to create an inclusive culture at Microsoft. And there is still a gap between our aspired culture and everyone’s lived experiences today. For some, that gap may be small; for others it may be larger. But the fact that at Microsoft we have this value system we’re aspiring to is, I think, very much aligned to the Asian and Pacific Islander communities.
We’re consistently working toward respect, accountability and high integrity at Microsoft. I would say that our continued work to make progress is not so much different this year, but that we’re focusing even more effort on it.
Unfortunately, this past year we have seen the continued trend of acts of hate toward Asians globally. But the fact that Microsoft is strongly supporting the community in the face of those is super critical for the community. And that much-needed support is not a one-time event where we say something and then we’re on to the next thing. It’s the ongoing recognition that acts against violence, injustice and inequities across the world are unacceptable.
SPS: That’s right. We’ve also been focused on community education in the wake of this alarming rise in acts of hate and violence — how the community can leverage safety practices, and how can we work with the local government communities to increase safety.
JH: Our Inclusion Council has also been really engaged in these discussions. Other examples of sustained commitment to the community include the events we’ve done to engage with external experts in ongoing learning such as Microsoft Include, and of course the support of our Asians at Microsoft Employee Resources Group (ERG). I have heard from the community specifically that one of the most powerful things they’ve attended this year are our community calls, where people have had the opportunity to talk through how they’re feeling with others who may have experienced similar things.
SPS: Based on what we heard from our community, we’ve also been increasingly focused on how we strengthen and support the advancement of the ERG and its members at the company. I am really proud of how we’ve been working with outside experts on leadership development across the company, all the way from entry-level employees to the most senior in the company. This is the kind of year-round investment that is directly benefiting the community.
JH: I’m so passionate about this piece — the leadership education for Asians and Pacific Islanders. When I started as the sponsor for the Asians ERG, that was the No. 1 feedback, that the community wanted unique and tailored leadership education.
As we know, there are 4.7 billion people in this broad community across the world. Asians and Pacific Islanders make up 60% of the world population. That really strikes me. Because within that, there are so many different perspectives. So, a question for you is, how do we ensure that different types of conversations and perspectives from the entire community are brought in?
SPS: As you said — 60% of the global population! And we are trying to represent diversity within the community at that scale. It’s actually one of our strategic pillars in our ERG — including all community members. I think we’re doing a really good job with that. The leadership team has ensured that we include many voices, and as a result of that diversity of thought, we’ve seen new steps and actions being taken. For example, we had an Asians ERG art exhibition. We had a day of remembrance where people could talk about their practices, cultures, ancestors. We had a stand-up comedy event. And we’ve focused specifically on women inventors. Those are just a few examples.
So, focusing on the many dimensions of identity within our global community ensures that we can all share our experiences and learn from each other.
JH: This leads me to reflect on the word “community” and what does that mean? With a global team located all over the world, how do we bring everybody together in a sense of community? At Microsoft the community is a combination of people, cultures and beliefs. So, I think that community piece is our connection to the history across the Asia Pacific region. Within this vast land mass, we can appreciate and understand the differences and uniqueness of the people in the sub-communities and societies. We talked earlier about Microsoft’s culture and values. I think one thing that helps us is that Asian values around integrity and respect are very similar to the company’s. And then of course we go beyond respect to actually celebrating our cultures. Each of our ERG chapters and groups, each culture, is a contribution that is valuable to the world.
And these values are actually critical for the work ahead, right? This year, next year and beyond, we want to tackle the biggest problems that divide us as a society. And we’ve got that microcosm of society within our Asian and Pacific Islander community. We can play a huge role in landing the mindset of interconnectivity and learning both within and outside the company. Each person must be committed to driving positive change, be more intentionally inclusive in the workplace and build our empathy. With this, we can build momentum to meet the challenges of the world.
SPS: Well said Jane. As you’re speaking, I’m thinking about my own personal journey as well. Part of my life I lived on a farm in a small village. I experienced a community there where everybody looked like me, spoke like me with a very similar kind of language. When I lived in various cities, that was the first time I’d experienced people looking like me but speaking different dialects.
And then when I started working on a multinational level, I encountered people who had such a range of cultural differences from me. What I’ve learned is whether it is living in a village, in a small community or at the global level, human values remain the same. I’ve realized more recently that as things become more complex, more turbulent, and we do not know what future will hold, the constant is the values that we all stand for. And that is true across the Asian and Pacific Islander communities, and all across Microsoft and our nine ERGs and many dimensions of identities.
JH: You know, I never thought about it in this way but because you shared a little bit about your own background, I’ll share something about when we moved from the U.S. back to the U.K. In his new school, my son felt left out, and suddenly struggled with questions around “I am British, but do they think I am American or Chinese?” He didn’t feel that sense of belonging, and all these new questions of identity came up which he held to himself. Things did get better, but it reminds me that it’s all of our responsibility to help each other understand that while people are different, everybody has something to offer. People need to feel like they’re valued and that they can contribute without being judged.
SPS: It is so true. Thank you for sharing that. Are there any misperceptions about the Asian and Pacific Islander community that you would like to address?
JH: I’ve heard people say things like, gosh Asians are good at math and science, and they have an easier entry to STEM fields and occupations. I don’t know that I would ever categorize it as easier or not easier. There are many Asians who are not good at math and science, right? It’s a generalization, and there are a lot of these.
Another misconception is that because the Asian population is large, there are a lot of Asian leaders. But actually, the statistics have shown that we’re the least likely of all racial groups to become managers and executives. We need more role models and pathways to that senior level, which is where those development efforts we spoke about earlier come in. And of course, some other misconceptions came up during the pandemic around Chinese people.
So again, what combats these types of misconceptions and harmful stereotypes is learning and building our understanding and empathy for one another.
SPS: I absolutely agree. We will continue this work with the Microsoft communities and our leadership. I look forward to the impact we will make in the coming year. Thank you so much, Jane, for the chance to have this conversation. I look forward to our celebrations and recognition this month!
JH: Thank you, Srinivas! Happy Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!
3 ways to turn your field service operation into a revenue-generating machine
For decades, companies have relied on skilled technicians to repair equipment and engage with customers in the field. While these technicians were often the only representation that the customer would see, their skills, processes, and systems were seldom seen as critical aspects of the company’s revenue cycle. Until recently, many field technicians or field service…
For decades, companies have relied on skilled technicians to repair equipment and engage with customers in the field. While these technicians were often the only representation that the customer would see, their skills, processes, and systems were seldom seen as critical aspects of the company’s revenue cycle. Until recently, many field technicians or field service teams were merely thought of as necessary cost centers. But like other parts of the organization, even the cost centers must learn to innovate and discover additional revenue–generating opportunities.
Field service is the process of organizing and managing work tasks that need to be completed at a particular location, usually a customer site. The field service process often includes many variables and can be quite complex. It encompasses dispatching, scheduling, skills matching, and route optimization, to name a few. Many people have been in a situation where they’re expected to wait all day for a technician because they’ve been given a broad arrival window time between the hours of 8 AM and 4 PM. Well, that’s field service—albeit, a rather inefficient model.
As the field service domain evolves, companies are learning their inefficiencies in the field can quickly cost them revenue as customer satisfaction is negatively impacted and the lifetime value of their customers decreases. And while companies across all industries are realizing the extended costs of inefficient field service operations, those that are innovative have begun to understand how to also leverage field service to generate more revenue. Cost reductions by becoming more efficient can be great, but reducing costs while increasing revenue is pure gold.
Here are three ways to drive revenue through your field service operations and how Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service can help create efficiencies.
1. Lead generation
This may sound odd primarily because lead generation has always been a staple of marketing and sales operations. But who else gets to know your customers better than your field technicians? Here’s a quick personal story:
After a recent move, I called several internet service providers. For starters, I selected the provider that could deliver service in the least amount of time. Upon arrival, the technician asked about other services, particularly mobile phone service. Since I had a different mobile phone carrier, he said they have specials and asked if I would be interested in hearing them. Shortly after confirming my interest and completing my internet installation, a field salesperson knocked on my door and converted me over to their mobile plan. A lead generated and a sale transacted—all originating from the field technician’s simple question.
Field technicians are skilled workers that often have a series of tasks needed to complete the service. By simply including a question or by noting a specific item on their task list, a Microsoft Power Automate flow can be triggered to automatically create a lead and route it to the sales team. This creates a qualified lead for the sales team and a cross-sell revenue opportunity for the company.
2. Expanding business units: Field Service-as-a-Service
To truly turn your field service operations into a revenue generator, the current operation must become efficient. Efficiency requires innovation; that is, innovation of processes, system platforms, and people. When it comes to field service operations, it’s safe to say not all organizations innovate at the same pace and some prefer not to innovate at all. This is where your innovation and efficiencies can become a revenue-generating asset.
For example, a large healthcare facilities provider began as a facilities management operation. They provided facilities management services to the vast and growing network of healthcare providers. Continuing to innovate and drive efficiencies with Dynamics 365 Field Service, the healthcare facilities provider quickly recognized the value they could bring to other healthcare provider networks and began offering their services to other hospitals. By leveraging their efficiencies, they were able to provide great value to more than 160 hospitals which allows their customers to create better patient experiences. The healthcare facilities provider is a great example of how field service efficiencies were used to create a revenue-generating business unit.
3. Connected Field Service: leverage data
Connected Field Service leverages IoT data collected from device sensors and integrates with Dynamics 365 Field Service to create a new revenue-generating service model. Connected Field Service allows organizations to graduate from the traditional break-fix service model to a proactive and predictive service model. This shift creates opportunities for organizations to market and sell new service offerings that yield greater revenue and increase margin.
A connected field service example is a Pacific Northwest mechanical contractor company. The organization specializes in developing energy-efficient buildings. However, by capturing the data from IoT sensors, their connected field service solution enables them to offer post-construction optimization services. IoT sensors capture a building’s energy levels and proactively dispatches a service technician prior to failure—thus, ensuring operational efficiency within their customers’ facilities. Building on their efficiencies, they can conserve and reduce travel costs by performing remote inspections and service with Dynamics 365 Remote Assist. Such efficiency creates opportunities to sell more advanced support offerings thereby increasing revenue and profitability.
Learn more about Dynamics 365 Field Service
The good news is that becoming more efficient in field service operations can be extremely valuable to your organization. The better news is that through innovation, field service operations can even be transformed into a revenue-generating machine.
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