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States press Facebook to halt Instagram Kids launch
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A bipartisan group of more than three dozen state attorneys general is urging Facebook to halt its plans to launch a version of Instagram for children under the age of 13, citing concerns about the safety and well-being of children and the "harm" social media poses to young people.
The National Association of Attorneys General, a bipartisan coalition of 44 state and territory attorneys general, penned a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Monday. The group, led by attorneys general from Massachusetts, Nebraska, Tennessee and Vermont, claimed social media can be "detrimental" to children.
"Use of social media can be detrimental to the health and well-being of children, who are not equipped to navigate the challenges of having a social media account," the attorneys general wrote in the letter to Zuckerberg. "Further, Facebook has historically failed to protect the welfare of children on its platforms."
"The attorneys general have an interest in protecting our youngest citizens, and Facebook’s plans to create a platform where kids under the age of 13 are encouraged to share content online is contrary to that interest," they continued.
The attorneys general cited research that they say "increasingly demonstrates that social media can be harmful to the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of children," specifically citing research that found that "Instagram was frequently flagged for suicidal ideation, depression and body image concerns."
Meanwhile, the attorneys general argued that children "do not have a developed understanding of privacy" and "may not fully appreciate what content is appropriate for them to share with others, the permanency of content they post on an online platform, and who has access to what they share online."