A silhouette of two children on laptops with the Instagram logo behind them.

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‘Instagram for Kids’ plans paused amid backlash

The announcement comes days ahead of a Facebook executive testifying before Congress.

 

Andrew Wyrich

Tech

Published Sep 27, 2021   Updated Sep 27, 2021, 10:17 am CDT

Facebook, which owns Instagram, announced on Monday that it is “pausing” its plans for an “Instagram For Kids.” The move comes as the social media giant has faced mounting criticism over how its products have hurt the mental health of teenagers.

In a blog post on Monday, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, said that the company while the company believed creating an Instagram For Kids was “the right thing to do,” it would be pausing work on the app 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 Instagram For Kids plan is to create an Instagram that would cater to children under the age of 13.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal published a series of reports about Facebook, including one that detailed how researchers at Instagram found that teen girls felt that Instagram made them feel worse about their bodies.

Facebook has pushed back against the Wall Street Journal reports.

However, even before the Wall Street Journal reports, Facebook’s plan was facing criticism. In May, a group of more than 40 attorneys general from across the country urged the social media giant to scrap its plans. In their letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the attorneys general noted that social media can be “harmful to the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of children.”

The announcement from Instagram also comes just days ahead of a scheduled Congressional hearing about children’s mental health on social media.

The Senate Commerce Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing titled “Protecting Kids Online: Facebook, Instagram, & Mental Health Harms” on Thursday. Facebook’s Global Head of Security Antigone Davis will testify at the hearing.


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*First Published: Sep 27, 2021, 8:45 am CDT