Really Insta? Are you actually willing to protect minors? Or is it because of the whistleblowers?
Instagram is adding a feature on its app to “help protect minors” called “Take a Break”. This announcement came from Nick Clegg, Facebook’s Vice President for Global Affairs after a testimony on US Congress from whistleblower and former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen that showed internal research that Instagram can have a negative effect on mental health of young people, in particular, underage girls.
Of course, Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg denied such a claim, saying it’s “nonsensical” that, for a company that relies on advertising for profit, would push content that would upset or anger users.
“We’re going to introduce something which I think will make a considerable difference, which is where our systems see that a teenagers is looking at the same content over and over again, and it’s content which may not be conducive to their well being, we will nudge them to look at other content,” Clegg said. In other notes, the company has also declared that it’s temporarily halting its plans for a kid-friendly version of the app called “Instagram Kids” in light of this new feature. The new app is supposed to integrate the features of the new “Take a Break” feature from the main app, including parental controls.
The new feature, as well as Instagram Kids is meant to combat users who are faking their age online. “We started this project to address an important problem seen across our industry: kids are getting phones younger and younger, misrepresenting their age, and downloading apps that are meant for those 13 or older.” according to a statement made by Instagram.
In addition, this version of Instagram would have content catered to the tween age (10-13 years old) and would have no ads and require a parent’s permission to join. This iteration is less strict than what social media apps in China is doing, like TikTok’s new child-friendly policies.