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Facebook pauses work on Instagram Kids amid criticism of the app

PUBLISHED ON 2021-09-28 00:48:00 EST Shubhangi

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Key Points:

·         Facebook plans to pause Instagram Kids as it faces criticism from lawmakers.

·         Instagram says it would continue building parental supervision tools.

·         Lawmakers raised safety concerns and demanded complete dismissal of the app.

Facebook Inc said on Monday it plans to pause work on the kids version of Instagram app designed for children under the age of 13 amid mounting pressure from lawmakers.

Instagram Kids was being designed in a way where parental permission would be required to join and ad-free as well as age-appropriate content would be provided to children.

The U.S. lawmakers and advocacy groups, though, has raised safety concerns regarding the app and demanded the social media giant to drop the plan.

Instagram said in a blog post is pausing the work on Instagram Kids but would continue to build its parental supervision tools.

"The reality is that kids are already online, and we believe that developing age-appropriate experiences designed specifically for them is far better for parents than where we are today," it said.

It also highlighted that there are app versions for children under 13 of Alphabet Inc's YouTube and ByteDance's TikTok as well.

Democratic lawmakers including U.S. Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Representatives Kathy Castor and Lori Trahan said Facebook should completely abandon the plan.

"Facebook has completely forfeited the benefit of the doubt when it comes to protecting young people online and it must completely abandon this project," said the lawmakers in a statement.

Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal published a report saying Instagram has a negative impact on teenagers’ mental health. The report also said that Facebook has made minimal efforts in addressing the issue.

Facebook had said that the report in “not accurate.”

(With inputs from Reuters)

Picture Credits: Reuters

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