44 Attorneys General Urge Facebook To Nix Instagram For Kids As They Warn Of Sexual Grooming, Bullying
A group of 40 attorneys general published a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Monday asking him to abandon plans to create a version of Instagram for children under 13, citing concerns about cyber bullying, sexual grooming and the general impact of social media on young people.
The letter—signed by state officials from New York, Massachusetts and more—argued Facebook has “historically failed to protect the welfare of children on its platforms” and that the alternate Instagram would put users in danger.
The three-page note to the Facebook billionaire emphasized research about the “physical, emotional and mental” impacts of social media on the well-being of children, outlining concerns the platform could heighten mental distress and bullying.
The attorneys general also sounded the alarm about the possibility children could be taken advantage of by predators on the platform, arguing children “are simply too young to navigate the complexities of what they encounter online.”
The letter highlighted that in 2020 alone, Facebook and Instagram reported over 20 million child sexual abuse images, as well as Facebook’s previous troubles with a messenger app for kids, in which a design flaw allowed children to join group chats with strangers that were not previously approved by the children’s parents.
“The attorneys general have an interest in protecting our youngest citizens, and Facebook’s plans to create a platform where kids under the age of 13 are encouraged to share online content is contrary to that interest,” read the letter.