Facebook Pauses Development of “Instagram Kids”
September 27, 2021
Facebook announced today that it is pausing its work on a kids’ version of Instagram after facing widespread criticism. In March 2021, reports leaked that Facebook was planning to build a version of Instagram for kids under the age of 13. Regarding today’s announcement, Fairplay’s Executive Director stated, “Today is a watershed moment for the growing tech accountability movement and a great day for anyone who believes that children’s wellbeing should come before Big Tech’s profits.” The earlier reports faced swift backlash as consumer protection advocacy groups and politicians asked Facebook to halt its plan. This announcement came after senators announced an investigation into Facebook’s negative effects on teenagers and a series of investigations by the Wall Street Journal which revealed that Facebook is aware of its harmful effects on users. EPIC signed onto a letter by Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, now known as Fairplay, urging Facebook to cancel its plan for Instagram Kids. EPIC has fought for transparency and accountability for Facebook’s privacy abuses for over a decade, from filing the original FTC Complaint in 2009 that led to the FTC’s 2012 Consent Order with the company, to moving to intervene in and filing an amicus brief challenging the FTC’s 2019 settlement with Facebook.