Nessel responds to halted development of Instagram kids app

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — On Monday, Instagram announced the pause in developing an “Instagram Kids” app, citing that they will use the time to “work with parents, experts and policymakers to demonstrate the value and need for this product.”

Back in May, Attorney General Dana Nessel, along with 44 other attorneys general, urged Facebook to stop the development of the child-friendly photosharing app.

The announcement comes from Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram.

Nessel responded to the pause today with the following statement:

While this is a step in the right direction, it falls short of acknowledging the detrimental effect a kid-specific version of the platform will have on those who primarily haven’t yet been exposed to social media. It’s especially concerning that this pause was the sole update announced following the release of concerning data that quantifies that effect, which has been at the company’s fingertips throughout the development process.  

Mr. Mosseri, in his statement, suggests providing a kids-only Instagram will address problems because ‘kids are already online’. That’s demonstrably false. Launching Instagram Kids will only pose threats to security and overall wellbeing while further profiting from society’s obsession with social media.” 

During a U.S. Senate meeting last Thursday, the hearing followed findings from the Wall Street Journal related to what Facebook knows about how Instagram affects young users, including data from the company’s own research that showed among “teens who reported suicidal thoughts, 13% of British users and 6% of American users traced the desire to kill themselves to Instagram….” 

According to a release from Nessel, Facebook has not replied to the coalition of 45 attorneys general.

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