Facebook is facing a lot of pressure from lawmakers and opposition from the common public to back down on the plan to build an Instagram for kids under 13. However, the social media giant has reaffirmed that its intention to go ahead with the plan. Along with it, the company has announced new updates to address issues related to the safety of younger users. The company in a blog post said that it is working on a new Instagram for tweens. “The effort is to reduce the incidents of kids under the age of 13 lying about their age. The new Instagram will be managed by parents and guardians,” the blog post reads.
Facebook said that there is no foolproof way to stop people from hiding their real age. “The truth is that kids of this age group are already online. We don’t have any foolproof method to stop them from misrepresenting their age. This is why we want to design a platform specifically for them. And this would be managed by their guardians or parents,” reads the post. Earlier in March, there were reports that Facebook was working on a new version of Instagram specifically for kids. Just months after, a letter addressed to Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg urged him to drop the plan of developing an Instagram for kids.
The letter was signed by 44 attorneys. The letter cited mental health issues and privacy concerns while urging Zuckerberg not to go ahead with the plan. Similar concerns have already been raised by child safety groups and Congress. But Facebook seems to not care about these requests and plan to continue with the project, which is internally referred to as ‘Instagram Youth.’ This announcement was made along with some safety measures that the company is planning to add to Instagram. One of the major changes that the company will do is to make the accounts of users under the age of 16 private by default. This will save users from unwanted interactions with strangers. It will also limit the way advertisers target the demographic.
Facebook said that these changes would restrict marketers from targeting young users based on their activity or interests on any of its social media platforms. However, they can still show targeted ads with the help of age, gender and location. Facebook is also planning to very age of users with the help of Artificial Intelligence. In case users are found to be underage, their accounts will be deleted. Explaining it, Facebook said that the AI would search for posts with birthday messages on Instagram and then crosscheck it with the date registered. “We will eventually use this technology across all platforms in order to develop more age-appropriate experience for users,” it said. The social media giant also said that it will work along with lawmakers, safety and child development experts to enhance this feature.
Carolyn is a technology graduate and loves to write about anything related to technology as well as writes in others sectors. Carolyn is a professional writer with over 7 years of experience. Initially starting off as a programmer, Carolyn decided to combine her knowledge about technology and writing and that’s how she joined Reporter Expert.