Facebook’s Pause on Instagram For Kids


Mark Zuckerberg, owner of Facebook and Instagram. Credit: Anthony Quintano, CC BY 2.0

Hannah Moses, General

 On September 27th, 2021, Facebook announced that it’s pausing work on its project, “Instagram for Kids,” which was receiving criticism from lawmakers and users.  This pause comes after a Wall Street Journal report showed that Facebook found multiple times that Instagram, which it owns, is harmful to many teens. They found that Instagram specifically harmed teenage girls the most. An internal Facebook presentation said that among teens who have reported suicidal thoughts, 13% of British users and 6% of American users said it was because of Instagram.  However, Facebook did not conduct any response to these statistics. This report led lawmakers to once again question the app.


   Representatives want answers from Facebook. Rep. Lori Trahan and Senator Richard Blumenthaal, both of whom are Democrats from Massachusetts and Connecticut, respectively, have responded to the decision and stated that Facebook should scrap its plan entirely on Instagram Kids. They believe Facebook has lost trust when it comes to protecting teens online. Facebook has repeatedly defended its efforts to draw more kids to Instagram. In a blog post, Instagram’s head, Adam Mosseri, argued that children are already “online”.

   For now, Instagram will place a hold on its work in order to address concerns with parents, experts, policymakers, and regulators. Mosseri said, “Critics of ‘Instagram Kids’ will see this is 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.”  Instagram is also currently considering expanding it’s parental control to teen accounts. Mosseri said that parents and teens will be able to go in and out of the new features, and they will also help parents shape their teen’s experience on the app.


UPDATE (10/6/21): On October 5th, Facebook and Instagram experienced a global shutdown after an internal whistleblower exposed Facebook’s lack of response to teen suicide, specifically feminine self image issues, and human trafficking within the site, and for the incitement of political polarization, social tension, and violence. Doesn’t look like Instagram for Kids will be happening anytime soon.