On Monday, forty-four attorney generals wrote a letter calling for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to scrap plans for a children’s version of Instagram.
“Use of social media can be detrimental to the health and well-being of children, who are not equipped to navigate the challenges of having a social media account,” the letter says. “Further, Facebook has historically failed to protect the welfare of children on its platforms. The attorneys general have an interest in protecting our youngest citizens, and Facebook’s plans to create a platform where kids under the age of 13 are encouraged to share content online is contrary to that interest.”
“As every parent knows, kids are already online. We want to improve this situation by delivering experiences that give parents visibility and control over what their kids are doing,” a spokesperson for Facebook said in a statement to CNN Business. “We are developing these experiences in consultation with experts in child development, child safety and mental health, and privacy advocates. We also look forward to working with legislators and regulators, including the nation’s attorneys general. In addition, we commit today to not showings in any Instagram experience we develop for people under the age of 13.”Facebook is a founding sponsor of a Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital. The lab will research the effect of digital technology on kids. The social media company wants parents to have more control of what their children post on social media.
During a Congressional hearing in March, Florida GOP Congressman Gus Bilirakis, asked Zuckerberg if Facebook was trying to monetize children and get them addicted early.
Zuckerberg said the platform is still “early in our thinking” and “there is clearly a large number of people under the age of 13 who would want to use a service like Instagram.”
In March, Instagram published a blog, “Continuing to Make Instagram Safer for the Youngest Members of Our Community.” The blog shares ways that parents can keep their teens safe online.
“We want parents to have the information to help their teens have a safe and positive experience on Instagram,” the blog post says.
The company restricts adults from contacting or following individuals that are under the age of 18.