Facebook slows down on Instagram for kids

“While we support the need to develop this experience, we have decided to put this project on hold,” Instagram manager Adam Mosseri wrote in a blog post on Monday. “This will give us time to work with parents, experts, policy makers and regulators, to listen to their concerns and to demonstrate the value and importance of this project for young teens online today.”
The move comes just days before the US Senate holds a hearing titled “Protecting Kids Online: Facebook, Instagram, and Mental Health Harms” to discuss the pressure young people today face on social media. . This audience comes after a Wall Street Journal investigation into what Facebook knows about how Instagram affects teenage users, including their mental health.
In Monday’s blog post, Mosseri acknowledged that the Journal’s reporting “raised a lot of questions for people.” In a statement earlier this month, an Instagram executive noted that while Instagram can be a place where people have “negative experiences,” the app also gives voice to marginalized people and helps friends and family. family to stay connected.

“This is a watershed moment for the growing movement of technological responsibility and a great day for all who believe that the welfare of children should come before the benefits of Big Tech,” Josh Golin, executive director of Fairplay, a group Children’s Advocacy Formerly known as the Campaign for a Ad-Free Childhood, said in a statement Monday.

“We urge Facebook to use this ‘pause’ to truly engage with independent child development experts who understand how Instagram will undermine the well-being of young children,” Golin added. “We won’t stop pressuring Facebook until they pull the plug for good. “

In March, BuzzFeed News got an internal Instagram post that the company had “identified youth work as a priority” and planned to create a version specifically aimed at children.

In May, 44 attorneys general signed a letter to Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg, urging him to ditch plans for an Instagram aimed at young users, citing mental health and privacy concerns. The letter came less than a month after child safety groups and members of Congress expressed similar concerns.

In a blog post published in July, the company said it was developing a “new Instagram experience for tweens” run by parents and guardians as part of its efforts to “reduce the incentive for people under 13 years old to lie about their age “.

“The reality is they’re already online, and with no foolproof way to stop people distorting their age, we want to create experiences designed especially for them, run by parents and guardians,” the post read.

During an interview with the Today Show on Monday, Mosseri said Instagram is working on a series of tools to help fight mental health. This includes a feature called Take a Break which allows users to temporarily leave the platform when they are going through a difficult time, such as a break-up, without others being able to comment or post.

Instagram is also working on adding optional parental controls to accounts for users 13 and older. The blog post says more details on how this will work will be announced in the coming months.

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