Facebook is halting Instagram Kids app development after massive criticism

The development of “Instagram Kids” a version of the photo-sharing app targeting children under the age of 13 is being frozen for the time being and will not be released in the near future according to Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram.

Despite freezing its development, Mosseri says he still believes in the core idea of the new app.

“I still firmly believe that it’s a good thing to build a version of Instagram that’s designed to be safe for tweens, but we want to take the time to talk to parents and researchers and safety experts and get to more consensus about how to move forward,” he said. “If anybody leaves using Instagram feeling worse about themselves, that’s an important issue we need to take seriously and that we need to figure out how to address.”

Mosseri blames the media and critics for misunderstanding the purpose of the app. He retaliates that the app was not meant for younger kids, but for those aged between 10 and 12 (tweens).

In one tweet, Mosseri writes that the news of the project “leaked way before we knew what it would be. People feared the worst, and we had few answers at that stage. It’s clear we need to take more time on this.”

The news of the pausing development of “Instagram Kids” comes barely a week after The Wall Street Journal published several reports on Facebook that included a story on how Instagram’s own internal research suggested that the app made body issues worse for teenage girls.

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Facebook was quick to say these reports were wrongly interpreted, but it has so far refused to release its data for critics and supporters alike to analyse.

Mosseri has admitted that The Wall Street Journal’s report has raised a lot of questions for people, and, as a result, Instagram has started introducing a number of anti-bullying features as well as exploring ways that might encourage users to take a break from the app.

However, several media outlets have noticed that Instagram and Mosseri failed to address the report that their own researchers noted users often feel “addicted” to the app.

Facebook has responded to criticisms of the company developing a version of Instagram aimed at children by saying that young people are already online, and it was better that their experience be supervised. The company also said that it would not show advertising on the new app.

“I have to believe parents would prefer the option for their children to use an age-appropriate version of Instagram – that gives them oversight – than the alternative. But I’m not here to downplay their concerns, we have to get this right” Adam Mosseri.

However, most groups are not convinced by Facebook’s plans. The company’s real goal is to expand its lucrative and highly profitable Instagram franchise to an even younger demographic, introducing children to a powerful commercialized social media environment that poses serious threats to their privacy, health and wellbeing.” said Kathryn Montgomery of the Center for Digital Democracy.

Kenya is still a relatively conservative country, but the effects of social media, especially on teens and young adults, has been devastating. The youth are getting exposed to ‘perfect lives’ flaunted by different personalities on social media and unfortunately a large percentage can not separate it from what exists in real life.

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There are reports of our young girls and boys engaging in illegal and immoral activities, like the recently exposed “wash wash” business, or getting “sponsors” to finance lives that they can not afford.

These occurrences are just the tip of the iceberg and if left unregulated, we stand to lose a whole generation to the pressures that come with social media.tagra

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