Justice ministers of dozens of U.S. states are calling on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to stop developing a childrens version of Instagram. That app is intended for children under 13 years of age, who are now not welcome on Instagram due to US privacy regulations.
According to Facebook, the special version of the Instagram app should give parents more control over what their children do on social media. But ministers see the app as a danger to “the mental and physical well-being of children”. In a letter to Zuckerberg, they express their concerns about cyberbullying and online childrens lures. They also point to “the trouble Facebook already has” to protect children on their platforms.
“ It is scandalous that Facebook ignores the negative effects social media can have on the safety and welfare of young children, trying to earn money from a vulnerable part of the population,” says Massachusetts Minister Healey in the letter, who has the support of Ministers of 40 states, Washington, D.C. and three US territories.
“ Facebook does not seem to provide for a need, but rather to create a new need, because this platform attracts children who would otherwise not have an Instagram account.”
In a comment, Facebook says that the childrens version of Instagram is being developed “in collaboration with experts in the field of child welfare”. The company says it would like to consult with legislators and the Justice Ministers. According to Facebook, there will be no advertising in the new app.
In 2017, the American tech company was already under attack because of the development of a messaging app for children. Messenger Kids got there eventually.