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Utah AG, others leery of ‘Instagram for kids’ proposal

Utah’s Attorney General is part of a large, bipartisan group against the planned launch of an Instagram page designed specifically for kids. (Stock image, Canva)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s Attorney General is part of a large, bipartisan group of state attorney general’s against the planned launch of an Instagram page designed specifically for kids.

Should kids 12-and-under have an Instagram?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has proposed a version of Instagram designed specifically for kids, which they consider to be 12-years-old and younger. As of now, Facebook prohibits children under the age of 13 from joining their apps and websites.

Speaking at a congressional hearing in March, Zuckerberg talked about the proposal.

“Helping people stay connected with friends and learn about different content online is broadly positive,” he explained.

During that hearing, he also conceited that some factors still need fine-tuning.

“Including how parents can control the experience of kids, especially kids under the age of 13,” Zuckerberg said.

 

44 AG’s band together in opposition

Many leaders remain dubious of the venture, including Utah’s Attorney General Sean Reyes.

He joined with 43 other attorneys general who sent a six-page letter to Zuckerberg. The letter outlines some of their concerns, saying in part, it could “harm kids’ mental health and compromise their privacy.”

It goes on to say that “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. 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.”

Facebook, which owns the Instagram app, has said it will “prioritize safety, privacy and working with regulators” in relation to the possible new venture. They also have stated their intent to not show advertisements to kids.