Last week, after years of pressure from Fairplay and other advocates, Facebook announced some big changes on Instagram for its teen users. Included in those changes is a move to significantly limit the data that can be used to target ads to teens, which can go far in reducing risks for young people on the platform. (It’s notable that this news comes after researchers demonstrated that vulnerable teens could be targeted by alcohol, gambling, and weight loss ads based on the data Facebook collected from them.) On top of that, all teen accounts will be set to private by default.
These changes are long overdue, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on how Facebook implements them. But even as Facebook appears to be taking steps to create safer, less manipulative experiences for teens, it is plowing ahead with its most dangerous plan yet: creating a version of Instagram for children.
We’ve published a resource for families about the so-called Instagram Youth platform, which answers some of the questions parents and caregivers might have about using the proposed platform for 8 to 12 year-olds. Inspired by parent and psychologist Teodora Pavkovic’s Medium article, we look at the potential impacts on children’s growth, social connections, and safety.