Facebook has announced on Monday that it will pause its development of Instagram Kids, a social media service for children under 13, after backlash from child advocates, parents, and lawmakers.
The announcement came after a backlash among child advocates as well as a Wall Street Journal investigation into Facebook’s own research showing that Instagram has a negative mental health impact on many teens.
Instagram head Adam Mosseri expressed the company’s commitment to the product but decided to suspend the project as it seeks to address the concerns of parents and other parties.
Instagram requires users to be at least 13 years old before they create an account but many children under that age can easily lie to fake their age and use the platform anyway.
The company believed that Instagram Kids can address that concern with multiple features such as no ads and content availability which is suitable for the age group.
Parents will also be allowed to monitor their child’s activity and track their performance relating to who they follow, time limits, and who is allowed to message them.
Some child advocacy groups questioned if Facebook’s decision to suspend Instagram Kids is a sincere effort to reckon with criticism of the platform.
“Make no mistake that they are still going to try to build it,” said Jim Steyer, CEO of Common Sense, a nonprofit group that advises parents and schools on technology.
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