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Facebook is budding to build a kid-friendly Instagram

Facebook is budding to build a kid-friendly Instagram


Ivan Mehta
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Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

Facebook has had many problems in dealing with content moderation when it comes to children on Instagram. The EU even started a probe last year into the social network’s data storage practices for kids.

To tackle all these problems, the company is now looking to build a special version for users under the age of 13.

BuzzFeed News reported last night that in an internal note, Instagram’s VP for product, Vishal Shah said that as a priority, the company wants to make the platform safer for teens and also build a version for young kids:

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. 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.

For now, to use Instagram, you have to be over 13 years old. And users can report accounts they suspect are under 13.

The internal post also noted that Pavni Diwanji — a former Google executive who was in charge of several products for children, including YouTube Kids — will take oversee this new project. 

For teen safety, the company rolled out an AI-based feature earlier this week that stops adult strangers from DMing kids.

This is not Facebook’s first children-focused app. In 2017, it released a kid-friendly version of the Facebook Messenger with parental controls. However, in 2019, the company had to fix a bug that allowed children to chat with adult contacts that were not approved by their parents.

As more and more Facebook products are integrating, the company will have to make sure that apps for kids stay in a separate secure silo.

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