Instagram for Kids is Coming to an end as a Result of Facebook’s Actions
Instagram has put a halt to its ambitions to create an Instagram for kids under the age of 13 following pressure from politicians and growing concerns about the influence the photo-sharing service has on adolescent girls.
“While we stand by the need to develop this experience, we’ve decided to pause this project,” Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, wrote in a blog post published Monday. “This will give us time to work with parents, experts, policymakers and regulators, to listen to their concerns, and to demonstrate the value and importance of this project for younger teens online today.”
There are only a few days left before the US Senate holds an inquiry into the pressures today’s adolescents face on social media titled “Protecting Kids Online: Facebook, Instagram, and Mental Health Harms”. These proceedings are being held in response to a Wall Street Journal study of what Facebook knows about how Instagram impacts young users’ mental health.
A lot of doubts have been created for people by the Journal’s reporting, according to a blog post published on Monday by Mosseri. Instagram said in a statement earlier this month that while the app can be a place where people have “negative experiences,” it also provides marginalised individuals a voice and helps friends and family stay connected.
“This is a watershed moment for the growing tech accountability movement and a great day for anyone who believes that children’s wellbeing should come before Big Tech’s profits,” Josh Golin, executive director at Fairplay, a child advocacy group formerly known as the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, said in a statement Monday. “We urge Facebook to use this ‘pause’ to actually engage with the independent child development experts who understand how Instagram will undermine young children’s wellbeing,” Golin added. “We won’t stop pressuring Facebook until they permanently pull the plug. ”
It was revealed in March that Instagram had “identified youth work as a priority” and planned to produce a version for kids after BuzzFeed News received an internal memo.
Concerned about the mental health and privacy implications of an Instagram designed for younger users, 44 state attorneys general signed an open letter in May pushing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to abandon the project. Earlier last month, child safety advocates and members of Congress voiced similar concerns in a letter to the editor.
As part of its attempts to “reduce the incentive for people under the age of 13 to lie about their age,” the business announced in a blog post in July that it is creating “a new Instagram experience for tweens” that parents and guardians may govern.
“The reality is that they’re already online, and with no foolproof way to stop people from misrepresenting their age, we want to build experiences designed specifically for them, managed by parents and guardians,” the post said.
This was revealed by Instagram’s CEO, Mosseri, during an appearance on The Today Show on Monday. It has features such as Take a Break, which lets users temporarily leave the platform when going through a difficult period like a breakup without others being able to comment or send messages.
Instagram is also working on allowing users over the age of 13 to set optional parental controls on their accounts. This will be explained in further depth in the coming months, according to the blog post.