Facebook’s plans to launch an Instagram service for kids under the age of 13 has hit a major roadblock. Attorneys general for 44 states and territories urged the social media network to cancel its plans. The bipartisan prosecutors cited concerns about social media’s effects on kids.
Currently, Facebook does not allow children who are under 13 to join its apps, but the company has admitted that many kids join anyway by lying about their age.
In their letter, the attorneys general warned that studies show social media promotes a preoccupation with personal appearance and social status, while also contributing to online bullying and lower self-esteem. “Use of social media can be detrimental to the health and well-being of children who are not equipped to navigate the challenges of having a social media account,” they wrote.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has argued that with supervision social media can help young people stay connected with friends. The company has said the Instagram version for kids would not have any ads.
The letter follows a House hearing in March where federal lawmakers expressed concern about social media’s impact on kids and Facebook’s ability to protect their privacy. Protecting kids online is a rare issue Democrats and Republicans agree on.