Facebook to pause Instagram for kids due to controversy and criticism

 

On Monday, Instagram head, Adam Mosseri said that the social media platform was pausing the rollout of Instagram Kids platform. It was facing backlash from several lawmakers, critics and parents as the Facebook owned platform was planning to debut Instagram for tweens (children under 13). The company said that they would use the pause time to understand possible issues.

The company released a statement which said that Instagram and its parent company Facebook would re-evaluate “Instagram Kids” at a later date although it believed that building the platform for kids was a “right thing to do.” The company said that it would use this time to focus on teen safety as well as expand parental features for teens.

Earlier in September, the Wall Street Journal reported that in-depth research conducted by Facebook indicated that Instagram had a toxic effect on teens and could affect their mental health. The Journal said that three years of studies by Facebook noted that teenage girls faced the most notable harm due to its Instagram platform.

The explosive report led to lawmakers questioning Facebook on its development of a platform for kids. Representative Lori Trahan, the Democrat from Massachusetts asked the social media company to stop developing Instagram for kids. After Monday’s announcement, Trahan and Richard Blumenthal, the Democrat from Connecticut asked the company to completely shut down operations for kids.

Despite the report, which was released by the Journal, Facebook has always advocated its own efforts to increase the number of children on its app. Mosseri said that kids were already online and that they believed in “developing age appropriate experiences that were designed specifically for them was far better for parents.”

However, he also said that the platform would work with the concerned parties including

parents
experts
policy makers
regulators.


He said that they would also add new safety features that would give parents some control on the experiences of their teens on the social media platform.

On Thursday, Antigone Davis, the head of global safety at Facebook is scheduled to testify before the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection and answer queries raised on “Instagram for Kids” as well as the report by the WSJ.

Source CNBC, BBC News, WSJ

 


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