Instagram suspending development of youth-centric version of platform

The head of Instagram announced Monday that the social media company is halting development of a version of its service aimed at people under the age of 13.

“We’re gonna put the work on pause,” Adam Mosseri said in an interview on NBC’s “Today” show. “I still firmly believe that it’s a good thing to build a version of Instagram that is designed to be safe for tweens. But we want to take the time to talk to parents, and researchers and safety experts and get to a consensus about how to move forward.”

Mosseri — both in the televised interview and an accompanying blog post detailing the decision — waved off the perception that the decision is tantamount to admitting the idea for “Instagram Kids” was flawed from the outset.

“I have to believe that a world where there’s a version of Instagram that’s designed for tweens — one where there’s no ads, where there’s age-appropriate content, one where a parent can choose to allow their child to use it and control things like who they follow and who they message — is better than the alternative,” he said.

The announcement comes as Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, is scheduled to testify later this week at a Senate hearing on children’s safety and mental well-being online.

It comes on the heels of an in-depth, multi-part investigation by the Wall Street Journal that chronicled how Facebook internally handles negative effects its products have on users. That Journal series included coverage of an internal Facebook report that suggested the company downplayed the damage Instagram has on teenage girls.

The company has recently tried to undercut the Journal’s findings and counter perceptions that the social media platforms are detrimental to their users’ mental health.

Mosseri said that Instagram is working on other features to improve users’ experience on the platform, including “nudging” people to explore other topics if they appear to be dwelling on a potentially negative subject and allowing people to put their accounts on pause.

“If anybody leaves using Instagram feeling worse about themselves, that’s an important issue that we need to take seriously [and] that we need to figure out how to address,” he said.

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The head of Instagram announced Monday that the social media company is halting development of a version of its service aimed at people under the age of 13.

“We’re gonna put the work on pause,” Adam Mosseri said in an interview on NBC’s “Today” show. “I still firmly believe that it’s a good thing to build a version of Instagram that is designed to be safe for tweens. But we want to take the time to talk to parents, and researchers and safety experts and get to a consensus about how to move forward.”

Mosseri — both in the televised interview and an accompanying blog post detailing the decision — waved off the perception that the decision is tantamount to admitting the idea for “Instagram Kids” was flawed from the outset.

“I have to believe that a world where there’s a version of Instagram that’s designed for tweens — one where there’s no ads, where there’s age-appropriate content, one where a parent can choose to allow their child to use it and control things like who they follow and who they message — is better than the alternative,” he said.

The announcement comes as Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, is scheduled to testify later this week at a Senate hearing on children’s safety and mental well-being online.

It comes on the heels of an in-depth, multi-part investigation by the Wall Street Journal that chronicled how Facebook internally handles negative effects its products have on users. That Journal series included coverage of an internal Facebook report that suggested the company downplayed the damage Instagram has on teenage girls.

The company has recently tried to undercut the Journal’s findings and counter perceptions that the social media platforms are detrimental to their users’ mental health.

Mosseri said that Instagram is working on other features to improve users’ experience on the platform, including “nudging” people to explore other topics if they appear to be dwelling on a potentially negative subject and allowing people to put their accounts on pause.

“If anybody leaves using Instagram feeling worse about themselves, that’s an important issue that we need to take seriously [and] that we need to figure out how to address,” he said.

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