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Facebook shouldn’t launch Instagram for kids over ‘past failures’

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

Four US lawmakers have suggested that it is not a good idea for Facebook to launch Instagram for kids.

The social media giant’s plan has raised concerns as Facebook is notorious for failing to protect the privacy of its users.

“Facebook has a record of failing to protect children’s privacy and safety, casting serious doubt on its ability to do so on a version of Instagram that is marketed to children,” the Democratic lawmakers said in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The signatories, in part,  suggested that such a platform should be “completely free of targeted advertising” and lack a “like” button.

“Should Facebook fail to provide adequate responses to the questions above or otherwise fail to demonstrate that a future version of Instagram for children would meet the highest standards of user protection, we would advise you to abandon your plans to launch this new platform,” the Democrats wrote.

Facebook has responded by arguing that a platform dedicated to kids is a good idea.

"The National PTA found that 81 percent of parents reported their children started using social media between the ages of 8 and 13. If we can encourage kids to use an experience that is age-appropriate and managed by parents, we think that's far better than kids using apps that weren't designed for them,” Stephanie Otway, a Facebook spokesperson, said in response to the letter. “This is in addition to our ongoing work to keep underage users off Instagram."

According to the Wall street Journal, “such an app could make… ad-targeting ability across its platforms even better.”

The latest letter, supposedly aimed at changing Zuckerberg’s mind about Instagram for kids, was signed by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) and Rep. Lori Trahan (D-Mass.)


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