This Monday, Instagram announced that it is putting the development of a version of its service for children “on hiatus”. The pressure received in recent times has led the social network to twist its arm, after several months of controversy. Recent reports from The Wall Street Journal, very critical of the impact that the platform has on youth, would have been key in the decision.
Nevertheless, in the United States Congress are not satisfied with the determination. Members of the Democratic Party in the Senate and House of Representatives considered that the measure is insufficient; for this reason they issued a statement urging Facebook to completely stop the development of an Instagram for children, rather than temporarily slowing it down.
This is not the first time that US lawmakers have decided to take action on the matter. Last week, two senators – Republican Marsha Blackburn and Democrat Richard Blumenthal – announced that they would launch an investigation into the toxicity of Instagram and the impact on children and adolescents.
The US Congress wants Facebook to completely abandon the project of an Instagram for children
Photo by Kate Torline on Unsplash
The letter from Democratic lawmakers has left harsh words against the company led by Mark Zuckerberg. “Facebook has completely lost the benefit of the doubt when it comes to protecting young people online and should completely abandon this project,” they said in relation to Instagram for children.
For her part, Senator Blackburn said: “Facebook’s decision to pause Instagram for children is a step in the right direction to ensure a safe environment, but there is still a lot of work to do.”
While Instagram is under scrutiny from the US legislature, Adam Mosseri, director of the social network, posted a justification for the project of an Instagram for children between 10 and 12 years old.
Critics of ‘Instagram Kids’ will see this as an acknowledgment that the project is a bad idea. That is not the case. The reality is that children are already online, and we believe that developing age-appropriate experiences designed specifically for them is much better for parents than where we are today.
Next Thursday a hearing will be held in the United States Congress to address the impact of Instagram on youth mental health. Antigone Davies, Facebook’s Global Head of Security, is expected to participate.