Facebook's plan to develop a version of Instagram specifically for kids has now been paused in the wake of explosive reporting from The Wall Street Journal.
Instagram head Adam Mosseri during a Monday appearance on the Today show announced that the company will put its work on a version of Instagram for kids "on pause." The announcement came as Facebook has been under heavy criticism after the Journal reported that the company's researchers "found that Instagram is harmful for a sizable percentage of" young users, "most notably teenage girls."
Reports emerged earlier this year that Instagram was working on a version of its app for users younger than 13, but experts quickly expressed alarm over the idea. A group of health and child safety advocates, for example, wrote a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arguing this would "put young users at great risk," adding that Instagram's "relentless focus on appearance, self-presentation, and branding presents challenges to adolescents' privacy and wellbeing." The plan faced additional scrutiny following the Journal's recent reporting.
Despite Instagram for kids being put on pause, Mosseri still defended it as a "good idea" on the Today show, but he said that "we want to take the time to talk to parents and researchers and safety experts and get to more consensus about how to move forward." The Instagram head further defended the plan in an official announcement, arguing there's still a "need to develop this experience" because kids are already online and lying about their age, and he added that the project was "never meant for younger kids" but would be aimed at those between the ages of 10 and 12.
Mosseri also addressed the recent reporting from the Journal, writing that he doesn't "agree with how the Journal has reported on our research" and that such research is conducted to "inspire new ideas and changes to Instagram."