Facebook decided to continue the company’s growth by seemingly any means necessary, even if that includes continuing its dubious development of a platform for young children.
The company is moving forward with its Instagram for kids platform despite backlash from lawmakers. The company is “building new experiences designed specifically for those under 13,” Facebook Vice President of Youth Products Pavni Diwanji said in a blog post. Lawmakers spoke out against this potentially dangerous platform months ago.
Facebook knows that children under 13 use its platform, as well as Instagram. Rather than try to reduce the risk, it decided to build a new platform with the potential to put children in danger. “We’re also looking at ways we can reduce the incentive for people under the age of 13 to lie about their age. The reality is that they’re already online, and with no foolproof way to stop people from misrepresenting their age, we want to build experiences designed specifically for them, managed by parents and guardians.”
Diwanji provided very few details about the new platform for kids, but did suggest that parents will have the ability to somewhat manage their child’s activity: “We believe that encouraging [tweens] to use an experience that is age appropriate and managed by parents is the right path.”
Facebook did make at least one change to protect children. “[W]e announced today that we will no longer [be] showing posts from young people’s accounts, or the accounts themselves, to adults that have shown potentially suspicious behavior,” Diwanji explained.
In May, attorneys general from 44 states and territories sent a letter to Facebook Chief Executive Officer and founder Mark Zuckerberg. The attorneys general urged Zuckerberg to scrap plans to develop Instagram for children under the age of 13. Facebook is the parent company of Instagram.
In addition to concerns about “predators” online, the letter pointed to the potentially “detrimental” effects that such a platform could have on children. The attorneys general said that “research increasingly demonstrates that social media can be harmful to the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of children.”
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