According to reporting from the Wall Street Journal, it seems that insiders at Facebook (FB  ) were aware of research showing the negative effects on mental health from users of its product. Some of the issues that arose include body issues, low self-esteem, and anxiety with the most impact on young girls and teenagers.

According to the study, 40% of teens said their "sole purpose for posting on social media is to look good to other people", while 32% of teenage girls felt that "Instagram only worsened their body insecurities". This latest study is in line with previous studies which also showed something similar - a share uptick in mental health that coincided with social media use becoming ubiquitous.

Some of the other ailments which have seen a sharp rise in months are depression, online harassment, loss of sleep, and a loss of motivation to engage in real-world activities. Body-image issues are especially prevalent among youth on Instagram with 78% of girls dissatisfied with their body weight.

In a statement, Instagram's head of policy, Katrina Newton said the company accepts the finding and intends to "continue the company's effort to understanding complex and difficult issues young people may struggle with." Critics say that Facebook has a responsibility to change its algorithm to make the experience healthier for users.

One common adage is that social media is the tobacco of this generation. A few decades ago, cigarette smoking was normalized enough to be present in nearly every situation like flying, eating at restaurants, or throughout the day. Today, that seems totally antiquated, and it's always surprising to watch shows based in the era that show the constant smoking.

It will be interesting to see how future generations think of our permissive attitude towards social media given that it also has similar negative health effects on a mental level. There was also a massive, class action lawsuit against the cigarette company to hold them accountable for the harm caused by their product and misleading advertising. Right now, something like that doesn't seem likely but could happen if the company makes no changes to its product in light of these findings.