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Tech Talk: Instagram Kids Is A No-Go

Plans to launch a kid-friendly Instagram have been paused.

The photo and video sharing social site which launched in 2010, has millions of users around the world including kids thus the need to create a safe platform for them. However, this has been met with opposition terming Instagram toxic.

Adam Mosseri, chief executive officer of Instagram Inc., speaks during the Samsung Electronics Co. Unpacked launch event in San Francisco, California, U.S. on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. Samsung debuted its most extensive new lineup of smartphones, taking on Apple Inc. amid a slowing market with new low-end and premium models, 3-D cameras, an in-screen fingerprint scanner and faster 5G connectivity. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

According to Facebook, Instagram Kids would be a “practical solution to the ongoing industry problem of kids lying about their age to access apps” and enable children to connect with family and friends in an “age-appropriate way”.

Instagram requires users to be at least 13 before they create an account – but many children under that age use the platform anyway.

The halt of the plans follows leaked internal research the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said Instagram was “toxic for teen girls”.

But in a recent blog, Facebook head of research Pratiti Raychoudhury called this allegation “simply not accurate”.

But in April, a letter from the Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood, signed by 99 groups and individuals, claimed the “image-obsessed” platform was dangerous for children’s health and privacy and called for the project to be scrapped.

In the new blog post, Mr Mosseri said he still believed it was better to have a version of Instagram for 10-12-year-olds, rather “than relying on an app’s ability to verify the age of kids who are too young to have an ID”.

“The reality is that kids are already online,” he said.

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While the project is paused, Facebook would use the time to listen to “parents, experts, policymakers and regulators”, Instagram head Adam Mosseri wrote.

Instagram will expand its work on new opt-in parental supervision tools, to cover 13-19-year-olds currently on Instagram.

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