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Facebook puts the brakes on its Instagram Kids app as opposition grows

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Facebook puts the brakes on its Instagram Kids app as opposition grows
By Euronews and Reuters

Instagram has hit pause on a new app that it is creating for kids, the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app said on Monday, in a move that comes amid growing opposition for the project.

Instagram Kids was touted to require parental permission to join and provide ad-free, age-appropriate content, but US lawmakers and advocacy groups alike have urged the social media giant to drop its launch plans, citing safety concerns.

"We won't stop pressuring Facebook until they permanently pull the plug," said Josh Golin, executive director of Fairplay, an advocacy group focused on kids.

Instagram said in a blog post that building Instagram Kids was the right thing to do, but it was pausing the work and would continue building on its parental supervision tools.

"The reality is that kids are already online, and we believe that developing age-appropriate experiences designed specifically for them is far better for parents than where we are today," it said.

Harmful effects on teens

The Wall Street Journal published a report earlier this month, focusing on data suggesting Instagram had a harmful effect on teenagers, particularly teen girls, and that Facebook had made minimal efforts to address the issue. However, Facebook has said the report is inaccurate.

Countering claims made in the Wall Street Journal, Adam Mosseri, the Head of Instagram, acknowledged the research had raised concerns but said he was helping in shaping the app for the better.

"Recent reporting from the WSJ on our research into teen’s experiences on Instagram has raised a lot of questions for people. To be clear, I don’t agree with how the Journal has reported on our research," he said in a blog post.

"We do research like this so we can make Instagram better. That means our insights often shed light on problems, but they inspire new ideas and changes to Instagram".