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Facebook says it has paused efforts to build Instagram for kids

Facebook says it has paused efforts to build Instagram for kids

September 28, 2021: -On Monday, Facebook, which faced sharp criticism from lawmakers and users for its plan to develop an Instagram for kids, announced it’s pausing work on the project.

“While we believe building ‘Instagram Kids’ is the correct thing to do, Instagram and its parent company Facebook will evaluate the project again at a later date. In the interim Instagram will keep focusing on teen safety and expand parental supervision features for teens,” the company said.

Instagram head Adam Mosseri says that the app is meant for children aged 10 to 12.

The pause came after an explosive Wall Street Journal report showed Facebook repeatedly found it is Instagram app is harmful to several teenagers. The Journal cited Facebook studies from the past three years that examined how Instagram affects its young user base, with teenage girls most notably harmed.

One internal Facebook presentation said that the teens who reported suicidal thoughts, 13% of British users and 6% of American users traced the issue to Instagram.

The report led lawmakers to readdress their concerns over the social media app. Just after the news broke, representatives on the sides of the aisle demanded answers from Facebook. Rep. Lori Trahan, D-Mass., also known on Facebook to abandon its Instagram for kids efforts.

On Thursday, Antigone Davis, Facebook’s global head of safety, will testify before the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection.

Facebook has defended its efforts to draw more kids to the app. Mosseri argued in a blog post on Monday that children are already online.

“Critics of ‘Instagram Kids’ will see this as an acknowledgment that the project is a bad idea, and that’s not the case. The reality is that kids are already online, and we believe that developing age-appropriate experiences designed specifically for them is far better for parents than where we are today,” he said.

Instagram does its work to address concerns with parents, experts, policymakers, and regulators.

IG will work on expanding its parental controls to teen accounts.

“These new features, which parents and teens can opt into, will give parents the tools to shape their teen’s experience meaningfully,” Mosseri said.

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