Facebook is delaying its Instagram children project after criticism.
Facebook said Monday that it is suspending the development of a version of its Instagram photo-sharing app for children aged under 13, after widespread criticism of the plan.
The decision to pause the kids’ app comes as Facebook grapples with the fallout of a series of withering Wall Street Journal reports revealing that the company’s own research showed it was aware of the damage Instagram can do to teenage girls’ mental health.
This came after research revealed how Instagram damages teenagers.
Facebook’s announcement comes just days ahead of a hearing before US senators that was set up in response to the outrage that followed the Journal reports revealing that the company’s own research showed it was aware of the damage Instagram can do to teenage girls’ mental health.
Blackburn and Richard Blumenthal announced a hearing focused on the question of protecting children on social media.
Blumenthal wrote in a statement last week:
“This hearing will examine the toxic effects of Facebook and Instagram on young people and others, and is one of several that will ask tough questions about whether Big Tech companies are knowingly harming people and concealing that knowledge,”
Facebook has confirmed that Antigone Davis, its global head of safety, will testify at the hearing.
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has meanwhile attacked Instagram’s “relentless focus on appearance”, arguing that “younger children are even less developmentally equipped to deal with these challenges” than adolescents.
Facebook has hit back at the Wall Street Journal’s characterization of the internal research, stressing that the studies detailed both positive and negative experiences of social media by young people.