ELLE’s editorial: “Profiles at risk”

Incorrigible Mark Zuckerberg… It’s hard not to think about this when seeing the exhilaration of the boss of Facebook and Instagram announcing, with his stainless youthful air, that his company, seventeen years old, would now be called “Meta” and was heading for a new future. With the aim of further blurring the boundaries between the virtual and the real. The parents that we are would have much preferred that he revealed measures to protect our children from the increasingly worrying danger of social networks. It is clear that they are, today, as threatened in the privacy of their room as in the street in the middle of the night. Girls even more. The tragic case of Dinah, 14, who ended her life on October 5, a victim of cyberstalking for two years because of her origin and her sexual orientation, reminds us of this chillingly. Let us quote the singer Tessæ, who gives us chills in her book, “To brush against the walls”, when she describes her panic attacks and the insults to which she has been the victim: “She thinks herself beautiful while she is ugly, go -you commit suicide! She heard. The dangerous culture of likes, the drift of the power of the image which weakens teenagers in construction, not to mention the risk of prostitution of minors (TikTok and Snapchat would be the main places of recruitment of young girls), this is what torments us, much more than the idea of ​​”metaverse”. According to the gigantic investigation of the “Facebook Files” conducted by the “Wall Street Journal” – with the help of Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee, who became a whistleblower and heard by the French Parliament on November 10 – an internal study to the company revealed the psychological damage that Instagram could produce on young girls: 32% of teenage girls consider that their complexes are amplified by the platform while 13% of Britons and 6% of Americans blame Instagram for their suicidal thoughts. It is obvious that these companies would have the means to make their system less toxic, but why invest without profit?

Parents, therefore, to supervise their children? Not to leave them alone on social networks? An arduous mission, as we all know, since the characteristic of teenagers is to want to escape the vigilance of adults. How many have an official account to “put us to sleep” and three others hidden?

When we put our children in school seven hours a day, in a form of “social contract”, it takes over their safety. In an ideal world, shouldn’t the decision-makers and designers of these networks give us the same guarantees? Without reversing the burden of responsibility, at least let’s share it.

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