What you need to know
- Forty-three state attorneys generals do not want Instagram for Kids to happen.
- In a letter, they say Facebook does not have a good history of protecting children.
- Facebook is building a version of Instagram aimed at children under 13.
Over 40 state attorneys general have signed a letter to Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg urging him to "abandon plans to launch" Instagram for kids under the age of 13. In March, Buzzfeed News reported that the company was planning to build a version of the popular photo-sharing service that would cater to children "with the safest possible experience."
The coalition of attorneys general says that the proposed platform will be "detrimental to children for myriad reasons and that Facebook has historically failed to protect the welfare of children on its platform."
New York Attorney General Letitia James, the leader of the coalition, says the platform poses a risk to children and puts them in "harm's way."
"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," she 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."
The coalition argues that young children are not equipped to some challenges, like privacy, that come with the use of a platform like Instagram.
They say that there is a risk that predators could exploit children by being anonymous, and are also concerned with cyberbullying. They also indicate their distrust towards Facebook, adding that the company has a "record of failing to protect the safety and privacy of children."
When pressed for a comment, Facebook told Android Central that it is taking precautions to ensure the app experience is done right for kids:
We are developing these experiences in consultation with experts in child development, child safety and mental health, and privacy advocates. We also look forward to working with legislators and regulators, including the nation's attorneys general.
In addition, we commit today to not showing ads in any Instagram experience we develop for people under the age of 13.
The coalition includes the attorney generals of 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.