Facebook’s Instagram social media platform is pausing development of a new version of Instagram for children under 13 amidst pressure from lawmakers as they had questions about the impact such photo sharing platforms have on teen girls.
Instagram stated that they stand by the development of the app but will pause development. Their reasoning being it will give them a chance to work with parents, policymakers, and experts to listen to their concerns and to demonstrate the importance of developing the app.
This decision comes on the heels of a US Senate hearing titled “Protecting Kids Online: Facebook, Instagram and Mental Health Harms.” This hearing was inspired by a investigation by the Wall Street Journal investigation that delved into what Facebook knows about how Instagram affects teen users and their mental health.
Instagram acknowledged the investigation by the WSJ and admitted that people sometimes have “negative experiences,” but that the app also gives a voice to marginalized people and helps friends and family stay connected.
Instagram says they are working on some tools to address mental health issues. One includes a “Take a Break” feature that allows users to temporarily leave the platform and other users won’t be able to message them or comment on their posts. They also claimed they were working on parental controls for teens users over 13.