to drop plans to launch a version of Instagram for children, citing behavioral and privacy concerns regarding the effects of social media on young people.
In a letter to Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on Monday, officials said the research painted a grim picture of children’s social media use, referring to links to mental health issues and the ‘intimidation.
A Facebook spokesperson said Monday the company will work with regulators and lawmakers as its plans for the children’s version of Instagram evolve.
“We agree that any experience we develop must prioritize [children’s] security and privacy, and we will consult with experts in child development, child safety and mental health, and privacy advocates to inform it, ”the spokesperson said.
Facebook now prohibits children under 13 from joining its apps and websites, but Zuckerberg acknowledged that many children join by lying about their age.
The group of attorneys general, which included top attorneys in Texas, New York and California, warned that social media fostered concern about children’s personal appearance and social status.
“The use of social media can be detrimental to the health and well-being of children, who are not equipped to overcome the challenges of setting up a social media account,” they wrote.
Zuckerberg said in March that, used with supervision, social media can help young people maintain bonds with friends. In their letter, the attorneys general rejected this argument, writing, “There are a myriad of other – and safer – ways for young children to connect with family and friends.
The Facebook spokesperson said the children’s platform Instagram was still in the early stages of planning. Adam Mosseri, director of Instagram, told the Wall Street Journal last month that the children’s platform would likely give parents tools to monitor children’s activity rather than filtering out what content they can see. The company also said the version will be ad-free.
“The product has to be compelling enough that it doesn’t give people a reason to lie about their age,” Mosseri said.
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