Facebook is putting its Instagram Kids project on hold amid growing concerns about potential harmful effects on young people, including anxiety and depression.
The idea is to provide youngsters with the Instagram social media experience but with no ads, more parental control and age-appropriate content.
U.S. lawmakers and advocacy groups have urged Facebook to scrap the plan entirely for safety concerns.
“Today is a watershed moment for the growing tech accountability movement and a great day for anyone who believes that children’s wellbeing should come before Big Tech’s profits,” said Josh Golin, executive director of Fairplay, an advocacy group focused on children.
“We commend Facebook for listening to the many voices who have loudly and consistently told them that Instagram Youth will result in significant harms to children.”
Golin vowed to continue fighting against Instagram Kids “until they permanently pull the plug.”
While Instagram Kids would require parental permission to join, the company said it was putting the idea on pause to “continue to build opt-in parental supervision tools for teens,” the company said in a blog post.
“We’ll continue our work to allow parents to oversee their children’s accounts by expanding these tools to teen accounts (aged 13 and over) on Instagram.”
The company said the reality is that kids are online and that a product like Instagram Kids would be “better for parents.”
Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported internal Facebook documents showed the company knows Instagram can have harmful effects on teens, particularly girls. According to the Journal, Facebook has done little to address the issue.
Facebook called the report inaccurate.
(Some information in this report comes from Reuters.)