Facebook has been under relentless pressure in recent weeks to halt its development of a version of Instagram for children under 13. Lawmakers and activists alike have sounded the alarm about what this could mean for the long-term privacy and data security of these children. And now, users themselves have made their voices heard, with more than 180,000 signing a petition urging Facebook to stop its development of Instagram for kids.
In response to the petition, Facebook said that it is aware it must prioritize the privacy and safety of its young users.
“We’ve just started exploring a version of Instagram for kids,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “We agree that any experience we develop must prioritize their safety and privacy, and we will consult with experts in child development, child safety, and mental health, and privacy advocates to inform it. In addition, we will not show ads in any Instagram experience we develop for people under the age of 13.”
However, the fact that Facebook is aware of its responsibilities likely won’t convince parents and advocates of the company’s good intentions. After all, its entire business model is built on gathering our data — would it really draw the line at kids?
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