Facebook Halts Instagram Kids Work After Teen Mental Health Problems | Instagram
Facebook has halted work on its Instagram Kids project after revelations about the photo-sharing app’s impact on adolescent mental health.
Instagram said it was “on hold” to address concerns raised by parents, experts and regulators. The move follows revelations in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that Facebook commissioned research showing Instagram could affect girls’ mental health on issues such as body image and self-esteem.
Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has championed the concept of an Instagram site for 10-12 year olds and said he firmly believes children should be able to access a version of the app – which prohibits the less 13-year-old – which was designed for them.
“While we support the need to develop this experience, we have decided to put this project on hiatus. This will give us time to work with parents, experts, policy makers and regulators, to listen to their concerns and demonstrate the value and importance of this project for young teens online today, ”said he wrote in a blog post.
“Critics of ‘Instagram Kids’ will see this as recognition that the project is a bad idea. This is not the case. The reality is that kids are already online, and we believe that developing age-appropriate experiences designed specifically for them is much better for parents than we are today.
Mosseri’s statement came a day after Facebook’s head of research refuted the WSJ’s revelations, which led to further criticism of the company from politicians on both sides of the Atlantic. Pratiti Raychoudhury said it was “simply inaccurate” that the company’s research showed Instagram was toxic to teenage girls.
In one example, Raychoudhury said that of 12 areas on a slide cited by the WSJ, body image was the only issue the girls said was made worse by Instagram.
“This research, some of which relied on comments from just 40 teens, was designed to inform internal conversations about teens’ most negative perceptions of Instagram. He didn’t measure the causal relationships between Instagram and real-world issues, ”Raychoudhury said.
Beeban Kidron, interbank peer and member of the Joint Committee on the Online Safety Bill which aims to improve user safety on social media, said: “This is a victory for human rights activists. child and lawmakers around the world that Instagram Kids has been suspended. – but it should not be interpreted as a battle won.
“At some point we have to ask ourselves, is Facebook just too big to control its own products and services? Because unless and until they can deliver the service they promise, they are not trustworthy with our children.
On Monday, Facebook also tried to allay concerns about the company’s next big strategic shift, in the metaverse, or a virtual digital realm where people can lead their personal and professional lives.
The company has announced a $ 50million (£ 37million) investment program to ensure the Metaverse is built responsibly, ”with the money distributed between organizations and academic institutions such as the University Seoul National and Women in Immersive Tech.
Speaking at the Atlantic Festival, Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, said the metaverse will be built in a methodical and collaborative manner among a wide range of attendees.