Back in March Facebook announced that it had plans to create an Instagram platform that would be tailored to users 13 and under. The idea seemed to be in line with other apps that the company had already created like Messanger Kids.
Advocate groups for the rights of kids have a problem with the creation of this platform though. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood put out a letter addressed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to explain why they feel that the platform would be a bad idea.
When you read that the letter was sent by the “Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood” that’s a pretty clear indication of what their beef is. The organization though really criticized Instagram on so many more levels. They didn’t just send a letter saying we don’t think having a platform to run ads aimed at kids all day is a bad idea.
Part of the letter read, “It will likely increase the use of Instagram by young children who are particularly vulnerable to the platform’s manipulative and exploitative features.”
Facebook essentially argues that a kid version of Instagram would give parents much more control over what their kids can access on the platform or not. The platform would work similarly to how the Messenger Kids app works. Parents would have control over the people that their kids can interact with and the topics that they can potentially explore.
It was also mentioned that the platform would monitor the number of times that an adult user was trying to contact kids under 18 and flag their access to the platform.
The advocate groups are against the move because in their view the platform exploits fears that kids have with regards to social approval. Another fragment from the letter reads,
“Instagram, in particular, exploits young people’s fear of missing out and desire for peer approval to encourage children and teens to constantly check their devices and share photos with their followers,”
While it seems that the advocacy groups are bringing up valid points at this point in time there has been no direct comment from Facebook with regards to the letter from these organizations.
As was just mentioned Zuckerberg has been in no hurry to respond to the letter. What he has been up to is promoting other tech projects that the company is currently working on. This morning he took to his official Facebook account to talk about how his team is looking into more applications for VR devices.
The criticisms coming towards the kid’s version of Instagram could lead to the company scrapping the project or just releasing it a little under the radar. You know the same way that they sell some of your personal information.