After many negative signals and warnings from the public, specialists and lawmakers about the danger of social media on kids, especially on teenage girls, Facebook paused the project dubbed Instagram Kids for under-13s. In April, a letter from the Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood, signed by 99 groups and individuals, claimed the “image-obsessed” platform was dangerous for children’s health and privacy and called for the project to be scrapped. In May, 44 attorneys general signed a letter addressed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, urging him to scrap plans for an Instagram intended for younger users, citing mental health and privacy concerns. “While we stand by the need to develop this experience, we’ve decided to pause this project,” Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, wrote in a blog post published Monday. “This 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.”A Facebook representative, on Monday, declared that the company will release some research material to Congress. The US Senate was set to hold a hearing entitled “Protecting Kids Online: Facebook, Instagram, and Mental Health Harms” to discuss the pressure today’s youth face on social media.
Facebook global head of safety Antigone Davis will answer questions at forthcoming US Senate committee, where she is expected to be asked about the WSJ report and plans for Instagram Kids. “We urge Facebook to use this ‘pause’ to actually engage with the independent child development experts who understand how Instagram will undermine young children’s wellbeing,” Josh Golin, executive director at Fairplay, a child advocacy group, said in a statement Monday.