Now, Facebook wades into Instagram Kids row, halts project: Know more

Highlights

  • Facebook halts planned development of a new Instagram Kids feature for children below 13 years.
  • The decision comes ahead of the US Senate’s discussion on the risks posed by social media platforms to children’s mental health.
  • Wall Street Journal had recently exposed that Facebook was aware of Instagram’s mental health impact on teen girls.

Photo and video sharing app Instagram on Monday announced to halt the development of its new Instagram Kids feature for children below 13 years after running into controversy.

Lawmakers have criticized the proposed feature for its impact on teenage girls. However, Instagram has decided to pause the project but not abandoned it. Social media giant Facebook Inc (FB) owns the Instagram app.

“This pause will give us time to work with parents, regulators, policymakers, experts to understand their concerns and showcase the importance and value of this project,’ Instagram head Adam Mosseri said in a blog post on Sep 27.

The announcement comes ahead of US Senate’s discussion themed “Protecting Kids Online: Facebook, Instagram, and Mental Health Harms.” The overall aim of the discussion is to probe the pressures faced by kids from social media.

Earlier, a Wall Street Journal investigation found out that Facebook is aware that Instagram is harmful to kids, especially teenage girls, some of whom had earlier blamed Instagram for anxiety and depression.

Facebook has denied the allegations. The company said that it wasn’t aware that Instagram could have caused mental health issues as reported.

But many who felt lonely, anxious, or faced hard times, also said that they felt good after using Instagram.

However, social activists see the latest Senate efforts as a great opportunity to rein in the big tech companies and hold them accountable. Children’s mental health should be prioritized over the profit of big tech companies, children advocacy group Fairplay’s executive director Josh Golin told CNN.

In May, several attorney generals had written to Facebook to cancel the Instagram Kids project over mental health and privacy concerns. Child rights groups and Congress members also had expressed the same concerns.

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Lawmakers have criticized the proposed Instagram Kids feature for its likely impact on teenage girls.

Source: pixabay.

What is Instagram Kids?

In March this year, Facebook had announced that it is developing a new feature called Instagram Kids for children below 13 years.

Facebook observed that the new feature is envisioned as more kids today use their parents’ smartphones to log into Instagram meant for adults.

The new Instagram Kids will allow parents to give kids access to Instagram and supervise and control what they see.

Instagram said that kids are already online, and it now plans to give them a platform solely for them. YouTube and Tik Tok also have versions for kids below 13 years.

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