Democratic lawmakers call on Facebook to ‘completely abandon’ Instagram Kids project

·2 min read

A group of Democratic lawmakers called on Facebook to cancel the development of a version of Instagram geared toward young children due to the alleged negative effects on their mental health.

Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Lori Trahan, both from Massachusetts, along with Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Rep. Kathy Castor of Florida, issued a statement Monday saying Instagram's announcement on Monday that it would pause development efforts on the Instagram Kids project does not go far enough.

“We are pleased that Facebook has heeded our calls to stop plowing ahead with its plans to launch a version of Instagram for children,” the lawmakers wrote. “A ‘pause’ is insufficient, however. Facebook has completely forfeited the benefit of the doubt when it comes to protecting young people online and it must completely abandon this project.”

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The lawmakers added they will reintroduce proposals to regulate Facebook, which owns Instagram, to protect children.

Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, announced the pause on Monday.

“While we stand by the need to develop this experience, we’ve decided to pause this project,” Mosseri wrote in a statement. “This will give us time 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.”

Mosseri said it was designed for "tweens" between 10 and 12 and not younger children. Instagram blocks children younger than 13 from joining but has acknowledged many of them use the platform anyway.

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Instagram's pause on development comes only days before the Senate is set to hold a hearing titled “Protecting Kids Online: Facebook, Instagram, and Mental Health Harms” to discuss the effects of social media on youth.

The hearing was scheduled after the Wall Street Journal reported Facebook is aware of the "toxic" effects Instagram has on young users, particularly teenage girls.

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Tags: News, Instagram, Social Media, Facebook, Technology, Mental Health, Congress

Original Author: Matthew Miller

Original Location: Democratic lawmakers call on Facebook to ‘completely abandon’ Instagram Kids project

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