An image problem: why Facebook needs to counter the negative effects of Instagram

A protest by a group of Cork schoolgirls and the revelations of a Facebook whistleblower highlight the stakes involved in the battle to make social media safe for young people

Teenagers from Schull in Co Cork protest about social media outside the headquarters of Meta, formerly known as Facebook, in Dublin last week. Picture: Bryan Meade

Last Wednesday afternoon, as Frances Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower, was warning European politicians to do more to control online harm, a group of Cork schoolgirls were making their voices heard on the very same issue.

The teenagers from Schull Community College held a protest outside Facebook’s European headquarters in Grand Canal Square in Dublin before walking to Leinster House to deliver a letter to government.

Their message to Catherine Martin, Minister for Media and Robert ...