Instagram pauses effort to build version of app for kids amid scrutiny


“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 revealed 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.”
The transfer comes simply days earlier than the US Senate was set to maintain a listening to entitled “Protecting Kids Online: Facebook, Instagram, and Mental Health Harms” to focus on the strain at this time’s youth face on social media. That listening to comes after a Wall Street Journal investigation round what Facebook is aware of about how Instagram impacts teen customers, together with their psychological well being.
In the weblog publish Monday, Mosseri acknowledged that the Journal’s reporting “has raised a lot of questions for people.” In a statement earlier this month, an Instagram official famous that whereas Instagram could be a place the place individuals have “negative experiences,” the app additionally offers a voice to marginalized individuals and helps family and friends keep linked.

“This is a watershed 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, government director at Fairplay, a baby advocacy group previously often called the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, stated in a press release 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. “

In March, BuzzFeed News obtained an inside Instagram memo stating the corporate had “identified youth work as a priority” and was planning to build a version particularly meant for kids.

In May, 44 attorneys common signed a letter addressed to Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg, urging him to scrap plans for an Instagram meant for youthful customers, citing psychological well being and privateness issues. The letter got here lower than a month after baby security teams and members of Congress expressed related issues.

In a July weblog publish, the corporate stated it’s growing “a new Instagram experience for tweens” managed by dad and mom and guardians as half of its efforts to “reduce the incentive for people under the age of 13 to lie about their age.”

“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 publish stated.

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