With Hill Hearing Looming, Facebook ‘Pauses’ Instagram Kids

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In advance of a high-profile Capitol Hill hearing on “Facebook and the Impact of Instagram on Youth,” Facebook said Monday it is “pausing” its plans to create a kid-targeted version of the popular Instagram photo-sharing app.

“While we stand by the need to develop this [Instagram Kids] experience, we’ve decided to pause this project,” said Instagram head Adam Mosseri. “This will give us time to work with parents, experts, policymakers and regulators, to listen to their concerns, and to demonstrate the value and importance of this project for younger teens online today.”

Also Read: Facebook Agrees to Participate in Instagram Hearing

Facebook has argued that creating the kid-friendly platform is a way to address the problem of kids under 13 misrepresenting their age online to access the adult/teen version.

”We firmly believe that it’s better for parents to have the option to give their children access to a version of Instagram that is designed for them — where parents can supervise and control their experience,“ Mosseri said.

The policymakers preparing to grill Facebook this week will certainly share their concerns with the company, and if recent hearings and statements related to the company are any indication, they will do so vigorously.

Also Read: Senator Says TikTok Needs Hill Grilling

Facebook last week agreed to send a witness to Washington for a Sept. 30 hearing this week in the Senate Consumer Protection Subcommittee entitled “Protecting Kids Online: Facebook, Instagram, & Mental Health Harms.”

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), chair and ranking member, respectively, of the subcommittee are both unhappy with a Wall Street Journal report that Facebook had data showing Instagram could be harmful to young people, but downplayed it.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.