Instagram Kids: Facebook pauses its controversial project

Instagram Kids: Facebook pauses its controversial project

Facebook has decided to  “pause” its Instagram project for children. This version for children under 13 is under fire from critics and the Californian giant wants to “take stock” . The social network wants to take the time to listen to parents, experts and even political decision-makers.

Announced at the beginning of the year , the Instagram Kids project is not about to see the light of day. Instagram manager Adam Mosseri announced during his appearance on NBC’s Today television show that the project has been put on hiatus. “I still strongly believe it’s a good thing to develop a version of Instagram that’s designed to be safer for tweens, but we want to take the time to talk to parents, researchers and security experts and get consensus. on how to move forward, ” he explained. This decision was confirmed on the blog of the social network.

“We think the development of ‘Instagram Kids’ is the right thing to do, but we are putting the project on hold. We will use this time to work with parents, experts and policy makers to demonstrate the value and necessity of this product ” , sums up Instagram. As a reminder, only people over the age of 13 have the right to create a Facebook account. This rule is also valid for Instagram, but not for the messenger messenger of the social network. The latter is already available in a “kids ” version for children from 6 to 12 years old.

Facebook’s decision comes days after the Wall Street Journal revelations . The American daily was able to consult internal documents and shows that the king of social networks is aware of the potential impact of Instagram on the mental health of adolescents. “32% of teenage girls said that when they felt bad in their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse,” this report explains. Research also found that 13% of suicidal teens in the UK have expressed fear of wanting to kill themselves on Instagram.

For his part, Adam Mosseri disputes the way in which the investigation was presented. It refers in particular to the responses of Pratiti Raychoudhury, the head of research at Facebook, who believes that Instagram’s research shows that the social network has beneficial effects “on 11 of the 12 well-being problems” mentioned by the Wall Street Journal . However, these revelations led Senator Richard Blumenthal and Senator Marsha Blackburn to request an investigation on Facebook.

Republican Party member Marsha Blackburn believes the decision to put the “Instagram Kids” project on hold is “a step in the right direction” , but that “there is still a lot of work to be done” . The Verge website reports that Democrats in the House and Senate are being much more vocal against Mark Zuckerberg’s firm. The elected Democrat Ed Markey and the representative Lori Trahan believe that a break is not enough and that “Facebook must completely abandon this project” .

Instagram still wants to launch a “Kids” version

A request that does not seem to be on the agenda for Palo Alto. Facebook and its subsidiary say they are “convinced”  of the value of offering a version suitable  for children under 13 years old. “Critics of ‘Instagram Kids’ will see [in this pause] recognition that the project is a bad idea. This is not the case. The reality is that children are already online, ” says Adam Mosseri. He adds that children “are getting younger  and younger phones” and that they ” make false claims about their age and downloads apps aimed at ages 13 and over . 

For these reasons, the two social networks believe “that developing experiences adapted to their age and designed specifically for them is much better for parents”  than the current situation. The management of Instagram recalls in passing that it is not the only company to think so and that YouTube or TikTok already offer versions for children. Two firms that do not escape criticism and controversy either.

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