Facebook has recently shared its plans for releasing an exclusive version of Instagram for kids, but it seems that 40 state AG believe this is not a good idea. They’ve signed an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to ask him to ditch his plans for launching Instagram’s kids’ version.
Children under 13 can not use Instagram legally, and Instagram laws prohibit this group from using this popular social network. However, to make Instagram available to this group of people and to reduce parent’s concerns, Facebook has decided to launch a special version of Instagram for kids. This version is optimized for children under 13, and aims to provide them “with the safest possible experience.”
According to the coalition of attorneys general, Facebook has flaws in supporting children. NAAG believes the new version of Instagram is “detrimental to children for myriad reasons and that Facebook has historically failed to protect the welfare of children on its platform.”
State AG says Facebook can’t protect children’s privacy via an Instagram Kids app
“Not only is social media an influential tool that can be detrimental to children who are not of appropriate age, but this plan could place children directly in the paths of predators,” the leader of the coalition and New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a press release. “There are too many concerns to let Facebook move forward with this ill-conceived idea, which is why we are calling on the company to abandon its launch of Instagram kids. We must continue to ensure the health and wellness of our next generation and beyond.”
Cyberbullying and exploiting children by being anonymous are the main concerns of state attorneys general. Moreover, they mentioned Facebook’s bad reputation for protecting children’s privacy. Facebook has recently started to test some privacy-driven features like Safety Check and Encrypted Messaging. However, these might not be enough to convince state attorney general.
The attorney generals of the following states have signed the letter: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, the District of Columbia, and the territories of Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico.
Instagram’s kids’ version is a serious challenge for Facebook
Maybe this is one of the most challenging issues Facebook has faced in recent years. On the one hand, it doesn’t want to lose an essential group of audiences. On the other hand, it doesn’t have a good reputation for protecting children on its platforms.
Releasing a special version of Instagram tailored to kids needs seems like a good idea. But we still don’t know much about it, and it’s not clear what features will be included in it to protect children’s privacy. We must wait to see what Facebook’s reaction to the letter will be.