Lawmakers want Facebook to abandon plans to launch an “Instagram for Kids” – intended for children under the age of 13 – after they were informed about some negative influences: the platform has inflamed mental-health problems, including suicidal ideation, among its teenage users; most notably, young girls. “Children and teens are uniquely vulnerable populations online, and these findings paint a clear and devastating picture of Instagram as an app that poses significant threats to young people’s wellbeing,” the lawmakers said. Researchers concluded that a sizable percentage of teenage girls believed the app was responsible for mental health issues related to their self-image. Twenty-two million teens in the United States use Instagram on a daily basis at this time.
On Wednesday, Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Reps. Kathy Castor of Florida and Lori Trahan of Massachusetts, all Democrats, sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.“ When given the opportunity to come clean to us about their knowledge of Instagram’s impact on young users, Facebook provided evasive answers that were misleading and covered up clear evidence of significant harm,” the lawmakers said. Zuckerberg was also asked to disclose any future plans at his company to target children and to reveal how long Facebook had been studying the impact of his products on teens’ mental health.