Facebook has long planned to roll out some version of its popular photo sharing app Instagram for young users. However, an international coalition of child safety advocates came forward this week and urged the company to abandon its plan.
According to these experts, the idea raises a host of concerns for the well-being of children, including risks to their privacy, mental health, self-esteem and more. When taken together, advocates say that these factors could hinder the development of children at a crucial age.
“Facebook claims that creating an Instagram for kids will help keep them safe on the platform,” Kathryn Montgomery, a strategist at the Center for Digital Democracy, told the BBC. “But the company’s real goal is to expand its lucrative and highly profitable Instagram franchise to an even younger demographic, introducing children to a powerful commercialized social media environment that poses serious threats to their privacy, health and wellbeing.”
For its part, Facebook says that children are online anyway, so why not give them a more regulated platform to use? But while that may be true, it’s also understandable why so many people are concerned that Facebook would have access to the data of children. After all, the company hasn’t even proven to reliably protect the information of adults.
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