An international coalition of 35 children’s and consumer groups took to Instagram on Thursday to scrap their plans to develop a version of the popular photo-sharing app for users under 13.
Instagram is pushing for a separate children’s app after years of complaints from legislators and parents that the platform has slowed down to identify users and users Protect them from sexual predators And Naughty.
But in a letter to Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, who owns Instagram, nonprofit groups warned that children’s versions would not alleviate such problems. However, 10- to 12-year-olds with an Instagram account would be unlikely to switch to the “babyish version” of the app, the groups said, hooking even younger users to the endless routines of photo-scrolling and body-image shame Can.
“Collecting valuable family data and cultivating a new generation of Instagram users may be good for the bottom line of Facebook,” said the groups, led by a business-free childhood campaign in Boston. Letter to Mr. Zuckerberg, “This will increase the likelihood of Instagram use by young children who are particularly vulnerable to stage manipulations and exploitative features.”
The alliance also includes the Africa Digital Rights Hub in Ghana; Australian Council on Children and Media; Center for Digital Democracy in Washington; Common Sense Media in San Francisco; Consumer Association of America; And 5Rights Foundation in the UK.
Facebook spokeswoman Stephanie Otway said Instagram was in the early stages of developing a service for children as part of an effort to keep children as young as 13 years old off its main platform. Although Instagram requires users to be at least 13 years old, many young children lied about their age.
Ms Otway said the company would not show ads in any Instagram products developed for children younger than 13, and it planned to consult with experts on the health and safety of children on the project. He said that Instagram is also working on new age-verification methods, which are trying to tell younger users about their age.
“The reality is that children are online,” Ms. Otway said. “They want to connect with their family and friends, have fun and learn, and we want to help them do something that is safe and age-appropriate.”