(Pocket-lint) - Instagram has announced today that the company is temporarily ceasing development on the highly polarising 'Kids' version of the app, citing concerns from parents and other child advocacy groups.
In March, BuzzFeed first reported on the Facebook-owned company’s plans to develop an under-13 only variation of Instagram, which would be centred around parental oversight - determining who their child can follow, direct message, and more. However, following the rather damning report published by the Wall Street Journal last week, pressure mounted on the company to respond in some sort of meaningful way.
In case you’re out of the loop, the gist of the WSJ report finds that the company is well-aware of the toxic nature of Instagram on its younger demographic - especially teenage girls.
The findings point to a large portion of young users developing an increase in negative mental health traits following their introduction to the app, such as depression, body dysmorphia, and eating disorders, among others.
Since word from the company first sprung that a child-only version would be made available soon, the majority of parents, lawmakers, and other child safety groups vehemently rejected the idea, citing distrust of the Silicon Valley firm to actually do it justice.
One journalist on Twitter writes,
Whether or not Instagram Kids should exist isn’t even the question anymore. The fact is that Facebook has lost public trust to build such a product. The WSJ reporting proved that you’ve never had the public’s best interests at heart, only growth and engagement.— ella dawson (@brosandprose) September 27, 2021
And here is Instagram’s head Adam Mosseri discussing the decision in a some-ten tweet long thread, which you can read in full here.
While we stand by the need to develop this experience, we’ve decided to pause to give us time to work with parents, experts, policymakers and regulators, to listen to their concerns, and to demonstrate the value and importance of this project for younger teens online today.— Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) September 27, 2021