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FEATURED: Instagram Report: U.S. senators on Thursday grilled Facebook Inc on its plans to better protect young users on its apps, drawing on leaked internal research that showed the social media giant was aware of how app harmed the mental health of teens #AceNewsDesk report

#AceDailyNews says that Facebook News Room reports that they were Pausing ‘Instagram Kids’ and Building Parental Supervision Tools and then on Thursday they were grilled on a ‘leaked’ internal research on teen harm according to Reuters…..

  • We believe building “Instagram Kids” is the right thing to do, but we’re pausing the work. 
  • We’ll use this time to work with parents, experts and policymakers to demonstrate the value and need for this product.
  • We’ll continue to build opt-in parental supervision tools for teens.

We wanted to provide an update on our work to build an Instagram experience for people under the age of 13, often referred to as “Instagram Kids.” 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.

We firmly believe that it’s better for parents to have the option to give their children access to a version of Instagram that is designed for them — where parents can supervise and control their experience — than relying on an app’s ability to verify the age of kids who are too young to have an ID.

While we stand by the need to develop this experience, we’ve decided to pause this project. This will 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.

Kids Are Already Online

Critics of “Instagram Kids” will see this as an acknowledgement that the project is a bad idea. That’s not the case. 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.

We’re not the only company to think so. Our peers recognized these issues and built experiences for kids. YouTube and TikTok have versions of their app for those under 13. 

Our intention is not for this version to be the same as Instagram today. It was never meant for younger kids, but for tweens (aged 10-12). It will require parental permission to join, it won’t have ads, and it will have age-appropriate content and features. Parents can supervise the time their children spend on the app and oversee who can message them, who can follow them and who they can follow. The list goes on. 

Building Parental Supervision Tools

An important part of what we’ve been developing for “Instagram Kids” is a way for parents to supervise their child’s use of Instagram. While we’re pausing our development of “Instagram Kids”, we’ll continue our work to allow parents to oversee their children’s accounts by expanding these tools to teen accounts (aged 13 and over) on Instagram. 

These new features, which parents and teens can opt into, will give parents the tools to meaningfully shape their teen’s experience. We’ll have more to share on this in the coming months.

Continuing Our Focus on Teen Safety

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. My colleague Pratiti goes into this more here.

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. Examples include our industry leading anti-bullying work such as RestrictHidden Words and Limits, and our recent changes to make Instagram accounts private by default for those under 16. 

Research also informs our work on issues like negative body image. We announced last week that we’re exploring two new ideas: encouraging people to look at other topics if they’re dwelling on content that might contribute to negative social comparison, and a feature tentatively called “Take a Break,” where people could put their account on pause and take a moment to consider whether the time they’re spending is meaningful. 

I have three children and their safety is the most important thing in my life. I hear the concerns with this project, and we’re announcing these steps today so we can get it right.

Facebook research shows company knew of Instagram harm to teens, senators say

Reuters By Sheila Dang and Paresh DaveOctober 1, 20211:51 AM BST: Last Updated 8 hours ago

Sept 30 (Reuters) – U.S. senators on Thursday grilled Facebook Inc (FB.O) on its plans to better protect young users on its apps, drawing on leaked internal research that showed the social media giant was aware of how its Instagram app harmed the mental health of teens.

The hearing in front of the Senate consumer protection subcommittee was called after the Wall Street Journal published several stories earlier this month about how Facebook knew Instagram caused some teen girls in particular to feel badly about their self-image. After growing opposition to the project, Facebook put plans for Instagram Kids, aimed at pre-teens, on hold this week. read more 

Antigone Davis, Facebook’s global head of safety, disputed the committee and WSJ’s conclusions of the research documents throughout the hearing, and said the company was working to release additional internal studies in an effort to be more transparent about its findings. read more 

“This research is a bombshell,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, during the hearing. “It is powerful, gripping, riveting evidence that Facebook knows of the harmful effects of its site on children, and that it has concealed those facts and findings.”

“IG stands for Instagram, but it also stands for Insta-greed,” said Senator Edward Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts.1/5

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) looks on as Antigone Davis, Director of the Global Head of Safety at Facebook (not pictured) testifies before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation – Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S., September 30, 2021. Tom Brenner/Pool via REUTERSRead More

The senators pressed Davis on several major themes, including what identifiable data Facebook collects on users under the age of 13, to what extent the company views young users as a growth area and to confirm whether it knew that Instagram led some children to consider suicide.

Davis reiterated that kids under 13 were not allowed on Facebook, adding 0.5% of teens in the company’s research connected their “suicidal ideation” to Instagram, lower than the figures the Journal had reported.

“You’ve cherry-picked part of the research that you think helps your spin right now,” said Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, demanding Facebook commit to releasing its full research on the links between Instagram and youth suicide.

A second hearing is planned for Tuesday and will feature a Facebook whistleblower. The whistleblower is expected to reveal their identity on Sunday in a recorded interview for TV news program “60 Minutes,” which in a preview described the woman as a former Facebook employee who left with tens of thousands of pages of research. read more 

Davis said Thursday that Facebook would not retaliate against the whistleblower for sharing confidential documents with the senators.Reporting by Sheila Dang in Dallas and Paresh Dave in San Francisco; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Oct.02: 2021:

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