Instagram for kids is not coming anymore, parents version is coming
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Instagram will no longer build a product for kids. Instead, it’s developing a feature for parents.
A statement by Instagram indicated that “it’s better for parents to have the option to give their children access to a version of Instagram that is designed for them — where parents can supervise and control their experience — than relying on an app’s ability to verify the age of kids who are too young to have an ID.”
The pull back preceded a congressional hearing this week about internal research conducted by Facebook, and reported in The Wall Street Journal, that showed the company knew of the harmful mental health effects that Instagram was having on teenage girls. The revelations have set off a public relations crisis for the Silicon Valley company and led to a fresh round of calls for new regulation.
The decision to halt the app’s development is a rare reversal for Facebook. In recent years, the social network has become perhaps the world’s most heavily scrutinised corporation, grappling with privacy accusations, hate speech, misinformation and allegations of anticompetitive business practices. Regulators, lawmakers, journalists and civil society groups around the world have criticised the company for its effects on society.
The Facebook company now wants parents to play an active role in how kids interact with the app. Its statement went to say: “While we’re pausing our development of “Instagram Kids”, we’ll continue our work to allow parents to oversee their children’s accounts by expanding these tools to teen accounts (aged 13 and over) on Instagram.”
On Thursday, Facebook’s global head of safety, Antigone Davis, is scheduled to testify at a Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing titled “Protecting Kids Online: Facebook, Instagram and Mental Health Harms.”
This indicates that stopping Instagram for kids was not enough to halt further scrutiny.