“This is a watershed moment for the growing tech accountability movement and a great day for anyone who believes that children’s wellbeing should come before Big Tech’s profits,” Josh Golin, executive director at Fairplay, a child advocacy group formerly known as the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, said in a statement Monday.
“We urge Facebook to use this ‘pause’ to actually engage with the independent child development experts who understand how Instagram will undermine young children’s wellbeing,” Golin added. “We won’t stop pressuring Facebook until they permanently pull the plug. “
In March, BuzzFeed News obtained an internal Instagram memo stating the company had “identified youth work as a priority” and was planning to build a version specifically intended for kids.
In a July blog post, the company said it is developing “a new Instagram experience for tweens” managed by parents and guardians as part of its efforts to “reduce the incentive for people under the age of 13 to lie about their age.”
“The reality is that they’re already online, and with no foolproof way to stop people from misrepresenting their age, we want to build experiences designed specifically for them, managed by parents and guardians,” the post said.
During an interview on the Today Show on Monday, Mosseri said Instagram is working on a series of tools to help address mental health. That includes a feature called Take a Break that allows users to temporarily leave the platform when going through a hard time, such as a break up, without others being able to comment or send messages.
Instagram is also working to add optional parental controls to accounts for users 13 and older. The blog post said more details on how this will work will be announced in the months ahead.