Reports by Buzzfeed and The Verge have suggested that Facebook is now working on an Instagram app designed specifically for kids below the age of 13. Buzzfeed discovered an internal company post that narrated the plans to commence work on a special platform for youngsters.
“I’m excited to announce that going forward, we have identified youth work as a priority for Instagram and have added it to our H1 priority list,” Vishal Shah, Instagram’s vice president of product, wrote on an employee message board on Thursday. “We will be building a new youth pillar within the Community Product Group to focus on two things: (a) accelerating our integrity and privacy work to ensure the safest possible experience for teens and (b) building a version of Instagram that allows people under the age of 13 to safely use Instagram for the first time.”
Meanwhile, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri confirmed that a version of the popular photo-sharing app for children under 13 is in the works. The Facebook-owned company knows a lot of kids want to use Instagram, Mosseri said, but there isn’t a “detailed plan yet,” according to BuzzFeed News.“But part of the solution is to create a version of Instagram for young people or kids where parents have transparency or control,” Mosseri told BuzzFeed News. “It’s one of the things we’re exploring.” Instagram’s current policy bars children under 13 from the platform.
“Increasingly kids are asking their parents if they can join apps that help them keep up with their friends,” Joe Osborne, a Facebook spokesperson said in an email to The Verge. “Right now there aren’t many options for parents, so we’re working on building additional products — as we did with Messenger Kids — that are suitable for kids, managed by parents. We’re exploring bringing a parent-controlled experience to Instagram to help kids keep up with their friends, discover new hobbies and interests, and more.”
The internal announcement comes two days after Instagram said it needs to do more to protect its youngest users. Following coverage and public criticism of the abuse, bullying, or predation faced by teens on the app, the company published a blog post on Tuesday titled “Continuing to Make Instagram Safer for the Youngest Members of Our Community.”