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Petition to scrap Instagram for kids garners 1.8 lakh signatures

A Facebook spokesperson said that the company had just started exploring a version for kids and they were committing to not show ads in any Instagram experience they develop for users under 13.
A Facebook spokesperson said that the company had just started exploring a version for kids and they were committing to not show ads in any Instagram experience they develop for users under 13. (Pixabay)

The petition urges Mark Zuckerberg to drop the plans of creating an Instagram for kids. Earlier this month a group of 40 US state attorney generals also asked Zuckerberg to abandon these plans.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had shared earlier this year that they were working on an Instagram for kids. The kids’ version differs from the current version on the lines that the former would allow kids under the age of 13 to sign up. This was confirmed during a US Congressional hearing on misinformation and as it turns out, and rightly, no one is much in favour. According to reports, more than 1.8 lakh people have signed petitions urging Facebook to scrap plans of creating an Instagram for kids.

Three separate petitions filed by three non-profit organisations, Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood, SumOfUs, and Juggernaut Project, claim that this version of Instagram, the one meant for kids under 13, is not suitable for these children. These organisations told USA Today that they plan to submit these petitions to Facebook today, May 26, ahead of the company’s annual shareholders meeting.

Executive Director of Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood, Josh Golin, said that they will not allow Instagram to use kids as “pawns in its war with TikTok”. "Teens and even adults on Instagram struggle with the never-ending focus on appearance, the relentless fear of missing out, promotion of influencer culture, and the pressure to collect likes. Instagram for young children is among the greediest, most tone-deaf, and wrong-headed ideas ever to emerge from Silicon Valley,” Golin said.

And it is not just the non-profits that have a problem with this plan. On May 10, a group of 40 US state attorney generals also asked Zuckerberg to drop the plans. A Facebook spokesperson said that the company had just started exploring a version for kids and they were committing to not show ads in any Instagram experience they develop for users under 13. The spokesperson said the company also agreed that any version of the app “must prioritise their safety and privacy, and we will consult with experts in child development, child safety and mental health, and privacy advocates to inform it”.

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