Pushing Facebook to Abandon Instagram for Kids

Lawmakers are once again pushing Facebook to abandon the development of a new version of Instagram that is meant to target children under thirteen.

Pushing Facebook to Abandon Instagram for Kids

Josue Perez, Student Writer

The renewed demand to push Facebook into abandoning the development of Instagram for kids comes after The Wall Street Journal published an article earlier this month revealing Facebook’s in-depth research showing how Instagram is toxic for teenage girls.

After the article was published lawmakers, child safety groups, and 44 state attorney generals called on Facebook to abandon the development of Instagram for kids, also known as Instagram Youth. Lawmakers are also pushing Facebook into releasing the documents and presentations that were used in The Journals article, while stating that their request for Facebooks internal research was never received since requesting it back in March during the House hearing. Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook have however not released the requested items and have instead provided evasive answers and documents as to why such requests cannot be met and claimed that they stand by their decision to continue the development of Instagram Youth. Senators as a response claimed to having a whistleblower inside Facebook and would conduct further investigation if needed.

The article published by The Journal is part of a series titled “The Facebook Files”. The series explores Facebook and reviews internal documents such as research reports, online employee discussions and drafts of presentations to senior management. One of the articles used documents, presentations, and interviews with teenagers who were users or are still users of Instagram to reveal that Facebook, its executives, and its founder Mark Zuckerberg are aware of the negative effects Instagram has on teenage girls. The negative effects were related to mental health which led to anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and in some cases thoughts of suicide.

The article also explores Facebook’s three-year research into how Instagram effects its millions of young users. The company’s researchers have however repeatedly found that Instagram is harmful for a sizable number of its young users, with teenage girls being the most effected. The article also reveals Facebook’s lack of care and effort to help combat this ongoing problem while downplaying it in public. Teenage girls are however not the only ones being negatively affected by using Instagram. Teenage boys were also found to be negatively impacted by the app during the three-year research. In the end it is stated that some of the teens interviewed for the article do not want Instagram to disappear but are skeptical that Facebook, its founder, and its executives have tried hard enough to make their platform less toxic.