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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsTechnology"Instagram Kids" Project Put On Hold After Backlash

“Instagram Kids” Project Put On Hold After Backlash

Instagram for Kids
Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, has announced that the company will pause its “Instagram Kids” project. Credit: Steve Jennings, CC BY 2.0

Instagram announced on Monday that it has halted its plans to develop an “Instagram Kids” app for children under thirteen. The company, which is owned by Facebook, put the project on hold after a wave of angry backlash from the public.

Instagram currently has an age limit of 13 for its users. Despite this, employees at the company noticed that younger children had migrated to the platform.

The social media giant cited this as the impetus to develop something that would attract children who were curious about the image-sharing application, saying to BBC News that this was a “practical solution to the ongoing industry problem of kids lying about their age to access apps.”

But the idea was quickly met with a wave of backlash. A letter from the Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood, signed by 99 groups and individuals, said that the social media application was unhealthy for children and demanded the project be discarded entirely.

But the project received its harshest blow in the form of leaked internal research from Facebook that was reported on by the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ interpreted the research as finding that Instagram was “toxic for teen girls.”

It was only after this report surfaced that the company announced their project was on hold. Despite this, Facebook head of research Pratiti Raychoudhury defended the project against the WSJ, saying the reports were “simply not accurate.”

“The research actually demonstrated that many teens we heard from feel that using Instagram helps them when they are struggling with the kinds of hard moments and issues teenagers have always faced,” Raychoudhury wrote.

“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.

The report showed that the company had polled a group of teenage girls about how Instagram made them feel about their own bodies. The results they received were:

  • worse – 32%
  • better – 22%
  • “no impact” – 46%
Facebook responded by saying that the survey relied on a very small pool of only 40 teenagers, and was intentionally focused on the negative dimension of the app so that the company could find ways to improve it.

Adam Mosseri responds to Instagram Kids backlash on Twitter

Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri took to his Twitter feed to defend the program from the backlash:

“This experience was never meant for kids. We were designing an experience for tweens (10-12 yo), and it was never going to be the same as Instagram today. Parents approve tween accounts and have oversight over who they follow, who follows them, who messages them, time spent etc.”
“But the project leaked way before we knew what it would be. People feared the worst, and we had few answers at that stage. Recent WSJ reporting caused even greater concern. It’s clear we need to take more time on this.”

 

 

 

 

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