In an open letter, attorneys general from 44 unincorporated US states and territories asked Facebook to drop plans to create a version of Instagram for children under 13. The text cites the harmful effects that social networks can have on children’s health.
The attorneys general believe that children “are not prepared to handle the variety of challenges that come with having an Instagram account. “Aspects such as privacy, the permanence of publications on the network and what is appropriate and what not to see and share are mentioned.
Furthermore, they claimed that Facebook “has a history of failing to protect children’s safety and privacy on its platform, despite claims that its products have strict privacy controls.” In this sense, they indicated that the Messenger Kids application contained design flaws that allowed the restrictions to be circumvented.
Facebook under pressure from attorneys general
Officials closed the open letter with a strong message: “In short, an Instagram platform for young children is harmful for myriad reasons. The attorneys general urge Facebook to abandon its plans to launch this new platform.
A Facebook spokesperson told The Verge that they are just beginning to explore the idea of an Instagram for kids. “We agree that any experience we develop should put your safety and privacy first, and we will consult with experts in child development, child safety and mental health, and privacy advocates, “he said.
They also indicated that they hope to work with “legislators and regulators, including US attorneys general. “Finally, they promised to “not show ads in any of the Instagram experiences for children under 13 years old.
Instagram for children causes concern in different spheres
The letter comes shortly after a joint House hearing involving CEOs Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook; Sundar Pichai from Google and Jack Dorsey from Twitter. Some of the legislators present asked to address the protection of children online.
The Buzz Feed portal, for its part, had revealed that the company was working on creating a version of Instagram for children. Facebook eventually ended up confirming the rumors, but indicated that there was no set date for their release.
The letter from the attorneys general has not been the only one. A group of 35 members united by consumer advocacy and 64 researchers from the early childhood education and development sector have also submitted a letter urging Facebook to reconsider its intentions to bring Instagram to children.
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