WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) – Forty-four U.S. attorneys general urge Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg to drop plans to build a new version of Instagram’s photo-sharing network for young children, arguing the new app could harm children’s mental health and compromise their privacy.
“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,” wrote the bipartisan group of state attorneys general in a letter dated Monday (May ten).
“Facebook has historically failed to protect the well-being of children on its platforms.”
Facebook said in a statement that it will prioritize security, privacy and working with regulators and experts when establishing the service. The company has also made a commitment not to broadcast any advertising on the youth platform.
“We agree that any experience we develop must prioritize their safety and privacy, and we will consult with experts in child development, child safety and mental health, and privacy advocates. to inform him, “the company said.
The letter adds to public opposition to the social media giant’s plan to create an Instagram platform for children under 13, who are currently not allowed to use the company’s regular platforms.
At a congressional hearing in March, U.S. lawmakers questioned Mr. Zuckerberg about the project and urged him to ensure his company does more to protect children. Child protection and privacy advocates have said the new app could contribute to depression, loneliness and anxiety among young users.
Facebook is still in the early stages of building the app. Executives said the company aims to give tweens access to many of the same features now offered on Instagram, but with parental controls and visibility.
The California-based company claims that many children under 13 are already using Instagram, and executives say the service will give them an alternative to lying about their age.
Facebook has yet to come up with a timeline or feature finalization for what has been called internally Instagram Youth.
Previously, Facebook launched Messenger Kids, a version of the company’s messaging app that gives parents the power to monitor their children’s communications and connections and set time limits.