Friday, October 22News That Matters

Tag: Mental Health and Disorders

Teenage Girls Say Instagram’s Mental Health Impacts Are No Surprise

Technology
Annie Zhu got an Instagram account during her freshman year of high school. At first, she curated her profile carefully, showing off different outfits and looks. She followed body positivity and body neutrality accounts. But she still sometimes compared herself with others, and “it can make me feel bad,” she said.So when she recently listened to a podcast revealing how Facebook’s research concluded that Instagram, which it owns, was toxic for teenage girls, she said, the findings “didn’t surprise me at all.”“In my past experiences, it has been a huge struggle,” Ms. Zhu, an 18-year-old Stanford University freshman, said in an interview.Among young people, the idea that Instagram can hurt someone’s self-image is widely discussed. Ms. Zhu said she and her friends talked about how social inter...

Facebook Downplays Internal Research Released on Eve of Hearing

Business
Facebook on Wednesday published two internal research reports about its photo-sharing app, Instagram, and downplayed their conclusions, as the company prepared for two congressional hearings in the next week that are focused on its products’ effects on children’s mental health.The reports — “Teen Mental Health Deep Dive,” published internally in October 2019, and “Hard Life Moments,” published in November 2019 — were accompanied by annotations from Facebook that sought to contextualize the limitations of the research and chastised its own researchers for using imprecise language.In one slide, with a title that said “one in five teens say that Instagram makes them feel worse about themselves, with UK girls the most negative,” Facebook wrote in its annotation that the research had not been i...
How Billy Strings Picked His Way to the Other Side

How Billy Strings Picked His Way to the Other Side

LifeStyle
It’s not only the sound of bluegrass that Strings is reimagining but also the image. Sitting in his bus as 6,000 fans drifted into a sold-out amphitheater near Portland, Ore., this month, Strings held a svelte black vaporizer in one hand while gripping a $300 electronic bong with the other. Giggling beneath a hat that read “Sex & Drugs & Flatt & Scruggs,” he looked more like the thoroughly tattooed brother of Shaggy from “Scooby-Doo” than those bluegrass patriarchs.He joked about covering “Dueling Banjos,” made famous in the film “Deliverance,” in full B.D.S.M. regalia and lampooned bluegrass posters for looking like antique-auction handbills. He extolled the hallucinogen DMT for making him a kinder person. Scrolling through his recent Spotify favorites, where Juice WRLD rubbed...
Phony Diagnoses Hide High Rates of Drugging at Nursing Homes

Phony Diagnoses Hide High Rates of Drugging at Nursing Homes

Business
The handwritten doctor’s order was just eight words long, but it solved a problem for Dundee Manor, a nursing home in rural South Carolina struggling to handle a new resident with severe dementia.David Blakeney, 63, was restless and agitated. The home’s doctor wanted him on an antipsychotic medication called Haldol, a powerful sedative.“Add Dx of schizophrenia for use of Haldol,” read the doctor’s order, using the medical shorthand for “diagnosis.”But there was no evidence that Mr. Blakeney actually had schizophrenia.Antipsychotic drugs — which for decades have faced criticism as “chemical straitjackets” — are dangerous for older people with dementia, nearly doubling their chance of death from heart problems, infections, falls and other ailments. But understaffed nursing homes have often u...
Even for the Greatest Players, Life in Tennis Can Be a Slog

Even for the Greatest Players, Life in Tennis Can Be a Slog

Sports
The moment resonated with nearly every player who has ever picked up a racket, and especially those who have reached the pinnacle of tennis.A tearful Naomi Osaka sat behind a microphone late on Friday night and spoke of how the sport she has so dominated at times has become a joyless binary journey between relief after victories and sadness following losses. There is no contentment, no happiness.Then came what may be her last public words for some time.“I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while,” she said.How long is anyone’s guess. But while Osaka’s misery is her own — like the unhappiness of the unhappy families Tolstoy refers to at the start of Anna Karenina — tennis has seen this movie so many times before that an unavoidable question arises: What is it about this spor...
How Facebook Relies on Accenture to Scrub Toxic Content

How Facebook Relies on Accenture to Scrub Toxic Content

Business
In 2010, Accenture scored an accounting contract with Facebook. By 2012, that had expanded to include a deal for moderating content, particularly outside the United States.That year, Facebook sent employees to Manila and Warsaw to train Accenture workers to sort through posts, two former Facebook employees involved with the trip said. Accenture’s workers were taught to use a Facebook software system and the platform’s guidelines for leaving content up, taking it down or escalating it for review.‘Honey Badger’What started as a few dozen Accenture moderators grew rapidly.By 2015, Accenture’s office in the San Francisco Bay Area had set up a team, code-named Honey Badger, just for Facebook’s needs, former employees said. Accenture went from providing about 300 workers in 2015 to about 3,000 i...
Naomi Osaka Struggles in Return to Tournament News Conferences

Naomi Osaka Struggles in Return to Tournament News Conferences

Sports
“The Tokyo Olympics, I’ve kind of been waiting for them for eight years almost, because I didn’t make it to the Rio one,” Osaka said of the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. “I felt everyone started asking me about the Tokyo Olympics every year from that point, so I feel very sad about how I did there but also a little bit happy I didn’t lose in the first round as well because I haven’t played.”Daugherty soon asked his question. “You are not crazy about dealing with us, especially in this format,” he said. “Yet you have a lot of outside interests that are served by having a media platform. I guess my question is, How do you balance the two?”Osaka hesitated and asked Daugherty: “When you say I’m not crazy about dealing with you guys, what does that refer to?”Daugherty answered, “Well, you’ve sa...
Britney Spears’s Father Fights Effort to Remove Him as Conservator

Britney Spears’s Father Fights Effort to Remove Him as Conservator

LifeStyle
One day after a lawyer for Britney Spears asked the court to expedite the hearing on whether to remove her father from the conservatorship that has long ruled her life, the singer’s father defended his actions over the past 13 years in a court filing.James P. Spears agreed to an accelerated timeline for the hearing, but objected to the effort to suspend him as conservator, arguing that he has taken good care of his daughter and is being blamed for actions undertaken by others with roles in the conservatorship.Last week, Ms. Spears’s lawyer filed a petition to remove her father as conservator of the singer’s estate, a move that was expected after Ms. Spears told the court the arrangement was “abusive” and that her father should be charged with conservatorship abuse. On Thursday, her lawyer ...
Simone Biles’s Big Olympics Move: Showing Vulnerability, Discussing Mental Health

Simone Biles’s Big Olympics Move: Showing Vulnerability, Discussing Mental Health

Sports
After withdrawing, Biles assured reporters she was not injured, saying, “It’s been really stressful, this Olympic Games.” She said she wasn’t certain if she would continue to compete.Biles’s withdrawal, Beilock said, was an attempt to take control of a situation that had seemingly spiraled out of control when she lost her sense of positioning in the air during a twisting maneuver. It was not unlike the tennis star Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from this year’s French Open rather than face what she considered invasive and dispiriting questioning from the news media. Osaka lost to Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic on Tuesday and exited in the third round of the Olympics.The increasing willingness of athletes to speak up, Beilock said, confirms that mental health issues affect everyone. Fo...
Testing Britney Spears: Restoring Rights Can Be Rare and Difficult

Testing Britney Spears: Restoring Rights Can Be Rare and Difficult

LifeStyle
Her voice quaking with anger and despair, the pop star Britney Spears has asked repeatedly in court to be freed from the conservatorship that has controlled her money and personal life for 13 years. What’s more, she asked the judge to sever the arrangement without making her undergo a psychological evaluation.It’s a demand that legal experts say is unlikely to be granted. The mental health assessment is usually the pole star in a constellation of evidence that a judge considers in deciding whether to restore independence.Its underlying purpose is to determine whether the conditions that led to the imposition of the conservatorship have stabilized or been resolved.The evaluation process, which uneasily melds mental health criteria with legal standards, illustrates why the exit from strict o...