Facebook said on Monday that it was halting development of its “Instagram Kids” service specifically for children 13 and under amid questions about the app’s impact on youth mental health. .
The announcement comes ahead of a congressional hearing this week on internal research conducted by Facebook and reported in The Wall Street Journal, showing the harmful mental health effects Instagram is having. out for teenage girls.
Facebook said it still wanted to build an Instagram product for kids that would have a more “age-appropriate experience,” but shelved the plan in the face of outside criticism.
“This will give us time to work with parents, professionals, policy makers and regulators, to listen to their concerns, while demonstrating the value and how important this project is to today’s online teens,” Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, wrote in a blog post.
Facebook has argued that young people are still using Instagram, despite age-requiring rules, so it would be better to develop a version fit them better with more parental controls. YouTube, owned by Google, has released a version of the app for kids.
But since it went public that Facebook was working on the app earlier this year, the company has faced criticism from policymakers, regulators, child safety groups, and others. and consumer rights groups. They have argued that it attracts them on the app at a younger age than protects them from problems with the service, including child predator grooming, bullying and body shaming.
Opposition to Facebook’s plan gained momentum this month when The Journal published a series of articles based on leaked internal documents that showed Facebook was aware of much of the harm it was causing. Internal Facebook research shows that Instagram, in particular, has a negative effect on mental health for young people, especially young girls, even when company executives have Try to minimize the negative side of the application.
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