On September 27, Instagram head Adam Mosseri announced plans to pause Instagram Kids, a version of the app for tweens aged 10-12. The decision follows the leak of internal research, reported in The Wall Street Journal, which explored the impact of the app on teen mental health.
“This was a tough decision,” said Mosseri in a video posted to his social profiles. “I still think building this experience is the right thing to do, but we want to take more time to speak with parents and experts working out how to get this right.”
In a blog post, Mosseri explained the company’s vision for an “age-appropriate” version of the app, and current steps being taken to improve teen safety on the platform. “We’ll use this time to work with parents, experts and policymakers to demonstrate the value and need for this product,” he said.
The announcement preceded a Senate Commerce Committee hearing called “Protecting Kids Online: Facebook, Instagram and Mental Health Harms.”
In the hearing, Antigone Davis, Director, Global Head of Safety, Facebook, faced interrogation from U.S. lawmakers via a video call. “Facebook has weaponized childhood vulnerabilities,” said senator and chairman Richard Blumenthal in an opening statement. “Facebook has evaded, misled and deceived.”