Forty-four state attorneys general sent a letter addressed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg not to proceed with his company’s plan to develop a version of Instagram aimed at children under 13. In the letter, the prosecutors claim that “Facebook is not responding to a need, but is creating one.”
In the statement released by the prosecutors, they spared no criticism towards Facebook’s CEO and his company. Especially concerning the care of children, stressing that the giant social network has never demonstrated commensurate protection of minors, so there are no arguments to think that it will do so now, in an application directly designed for the youngest.
“In short, an Instagram platform for young children is harmful for myriad reasons,” they added. “The attorneys general urge Facebook to abandon its plans to launch this new platform.”
Currently, children under the age of 13 are banned from using Instagram altogether. According to Breitbart, Instagram even has a support page for reporting profiles of children under 13 using the platform.
However, Facebook is now trying to appeal more to children by creating a platform directly designed for them.
A recent update to Instagram’s safety policies stated that it would use new artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to monitor the accounts of younger users, supposedly to help keep teens “safer” and apply “age-appropriate” features to their accounts.
However, it is known that such “monitoring” mainly serves to study users’ behavior as well as their queries, likes, orientations, and other factors that have a huge commercial value in the market.
“Use of social media can be detrimental to the health and well-being of children, who are not equipped to navigate the challenges of having a social media account,” they added. “Further, Facebook has historically failed to protect the welfare of children on its platforms.”
Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General, sharply criticized Facebook for failing to consider the enormous and multiple issues that social networking is creating for teens today. Not only are they not doing anything to improve the situation, but now they are also promoting a network for children, which will only cause the problems to start earlier.
Despite the enormous amount of criticism received on the matter, Facebook announced in a statement on Monday that it will continue with its plan to develop its Instagram for minors, adding that it will try to work with lawmakers.
Along with prosecutors and some conservative sectors also opposing the launch of the new platform, there is also pressure from an international coalition of at least 35 children’s and consumer groups for Zuckerberg to drop plans for a version of Instagram aimed at children under 13.