Instagram is pausing the development of “Instagram Kids” following criticism from its users and other concerned parties, the social media company said in a blog post.
The Facebook-owned company aimed to build an Instagram experience for people younger than 13 to prevent those with smartphones from misrepresenting their age to access the platform.
“We started this project to address an important problem seen across our industry: kids are getting phones younger and younger, misrepresenting their age, and downloading apps that are meant for those 13 or older,” it said.
Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, has emphasised that the intention of “Instagram Kids” has been misinterpreted by the public and that the platform was intended for children aged 10 to 12.
While we stand by the need to develop this experience, we’ve decided to pause to give us time to work with parents, experts, policymakers and regulators, to listen to their concerns, and to demonstrate the value and importance of this project for younger teens online today.
— Adam Mosseri 😷 (@mosseri) September 27, 2021
“It was never meant for younger kids, but for tweens,” Mosseri said on Twitter.
Mosseri blames the early leak of “Instagram Kids” for creating this misunderstanding of the platform.
“The project leaked way before we knew what it would be. People feared the worst, and we had few answers at that stage,” he said.
The halting of “Instagram Kids” development comes after Facebook was criticised in several reports from the Wall Street Journal, including a story revealing that Instagram is harmful to teenagers, particularly teen girls.
“Recent WSJ reporting caused even greater concern. It’s clear we need to take more time on this,” Mosseri said.