Google Creates New System to Help Parents and Minors Remove Pictures of Children

Google has put in place a system to help parents and minors to have photos of the minors deleted from public search results.

In a blog post the company said the tool will let parents and children under 18 to request photos be removed from an “image search” result list and from search thumbnails.

Google had previously offered people a method for requesting the removal of any image or information that were considered: financial, non-consensual explicit, national or medical ID. It is now simply extending that system to images of minors.

The company stated in the blog post that they understand that children face unique challenges navigating the online world when a picture of them becomes available on the internet. The company said they wanted to give young people more control their digital footprint.

Users will be able to flag URLs that lead to pictures they want removed. A team of human reviewers will go over each submission and contact the user they need additional information. The company did state very specifically they won’t remove an image from the internet entirely. The administrator of the website hosting the photo will have to be contacted to have the image removed entirely. The system only stops users from finding the photos directly through Google.

 

 

 

Instagram Puts Brakes on Instagram for Kids

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.

 

 

Facebook Doubles Down on Creating “Instagram Kids” Amid Criticisms

Despite concerns and criticisms from lawmakers and others, Facebook restated its intention to create a special Instagram platform just for children under 13 but also announced new updates to take care of concerns about the safety of young users on its social media platforms.

In one blog post Facebook claims it is developing the new platform to reduce the chances of children under 13 lying about their age to use the current Instagram platform. The new Instagram for kids, Facebook says, will allow parents and guardians to heavily manage their children’s use of the new platform.

Facebook wrote that kids this age are already online and using social media platforms and there simply isn’t yet a foolproof way to stop them. According to an internal memo obtained by BuzzFeed Instagram identified youth work as a priority.

Earlier this year 44 attorneys general signed a letter addressed to Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook CEO) to scrap the Instagram for kids project. They cited concerns over privacy and mental health. Child safety groups and Congress expressed similar concerns just weeks before this letter.

Facebook and Instagram have made a lot of promises about safety with their new platform and reiterated steps they’ve taken to help protect young users on their existing platforms.