A group of 44 states attorneys general in the U.S. has written to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg urging him to drop company plans for a version of Instagram for children under the age of 13, was announced on Monday. They are concerned about social media’s effects on the physical and emotional well-being of children, the potential for increased cyberbullying, possible vulnerability to online predators. “It appears that Facebook is not responding to a need, but instead creating one, as this platform appeals primarily to children who otherwise do not or would not have an Instagram account,” said the letter.
Children under 13 are technically not allowed to use the Instagram app in its current form due to federal privacy regulations but Facebook wants to change this. Facebook in a statement Monday said it is exploring Instagram for kids to give parents more control over what children who are already online are exposed to. “We are developing these experiences in consultation with experts in child development, child safety and mental health, and privacy advocates,” the company said. Facebook faced similar criticism in 2017 when it launched the Messenger Kids app.