Facebook Pauses ‘Instagram For Kids’

Social media giant Facebook Inc. (FB) on Monday announced that it has paused its work on the “Instagram for kids” project amidst sharp criticism from lawmakers and users.

“While we believe building ‘Instagram Kids’ is the right thing to do, Instagram, and its parent company Facebook, will re-evaluate the project at a later date. In the interim Instagram will continue to focus on teen safety and expanding parental supervision features for teens,” the company said in a statement.

Instagram head Adam Mosseri said the app was meant for children ages 10 to 12. Attorneys generals from 44 U.S. states had asked Facebook to ditch the project.

The decision to pause the development of “Instagram for kids” comes after internal research from Wall Street Journal showed Instagram was “toxic for teen girls.” One leaked internal Facebook presentation said that among teens who reported suicidal thoughts, 13% of British users and 6% of American users traced the issue to Instagram.

Instagram requires users to be at least 13 before they create an account, however, still many children under that age continue to use the social media platform. According to the company, the “Instagram for kids” is a better alternative for parents of kids to allow them use the social network.

“We firmly believe 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,” Mosseri said in the blog.

Meanwhile, Mosseri added that the pause “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.”

Instagram will also work on expanding its parental controls to teen accounts.

“These new features, which parents and teens can opt into, will give parents the tools to meaningfully shape their teen’s experience,” Mosseri said.

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