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U.S. Attorney Generals Ask Facebook To Ignore Launch of Instagram Kids

by Kenneth Chuacon / May 12, 2021 06:41 AM EDT

A group of 44 US attorney generals signed a petition to Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, on May 10. The letter cites analysis and lists reasons why Facebook's attempts to create and sell a kid-friendly version of the Instagram app should be abandoned.

The letter jots a number of factors, including Facebook's weak track record of safeguarding children's privacy and data on the site, as well as studies demonstrating that social media can be detrimental to children on both physical and psychological levels. Since children do not have a well-established sense of online security, they are vulnerable to online predators and cyberbullying.

"It appears that Facebook is not responding to a need, but instead creating one, as this platform appeals primarily to children who otherwise do not or would not have an Instagram account. In short, an Instagram platform for young children is harmful for myriad reasons. The attorneys general urge Facebook to abandon its plans to launch this new platform," documented in the signed petition.

Maura Healey, the leading Attorney General of this coalition, quoted Zuckerberg's denial of the notion that social media is detrimental to children in a press release. According to the press release, there is a lot of solid facts and analysis that confirms the weaknesses of Facebook and Instagram.

Children under the age of 13 are currently prohibited from using an Instagram account unless it is stated expressly in the profile description that the account is operated by a parent or guardian. Instagram published a blog post in March about how it protects minors under the age of 18 on the site. This, according to the AG coalition, would not be enough, particularly if Instagram continues to invite young users.

Back in March, Instagram announced of plans to create a version of their popular platform for kids under thirteen years old, after Google made a kid-friendly version for their video streaming platform, YouTube.

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