44 states call on Facebook to ditch its children’s Instagram plan

Social media giant working on photo=sharing app for kids younger than 13

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Monday 10 May 2021 19:21 BST

Instagram for kids

Top prosecutors from 44 states have written to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg asking him to drop plans for Instagram for children.

The social media giant has acknowledged that it is looking into launching a version of the photo-sharing app for youngsters under the age of 13.

Facebook currently bans anyone under that age from using their products, but has said that many children lie about their age to get access.

In their letter, the group of state attorneys general on Monday warned Zuckerberg that the proposed platform could harm youngsters, citing concerns about the impact of social media on children.

The group includes the top prosecutor from Texas, New York and California, and the letter warned that social media leads children to worry about their personal appearance and social status.

“Use of social media can be detrimental to the health and well-being of children, who are not equipped to navigate the challenges of having a social media account,” the letter stated.

Zuckerberg spoke at a congressional hearing in March about the plans, and argued that social media was a good way for young people to connect with friends and family.

But the attorneys general rejected that argument in their letter.

“There are myriad other—and safer—ways for young children to connect with family and friends,” the letter stated.

A Facebook spokesman said that the company will work with lawmakers and regulators as it develops the children’s version of Instagram.

“We agree that any experience we develop must prioritize [children’s] safety and privacy, and we will consult with experts in child development, child safety and mental health, and privacy advocates to inform it,” the spokesman said.

The spokesman added that the children’s version was still in the early planning stages.

Facebook has previously said that the version would not contain advertisements.

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