Facebook is working on an Instagram variant for children under 13

Facebook is working on a new Instagram app especially tailored towards kids aged 13 and younger, as per an internal company post seen by BuzzFeed News.

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Facebook wants to create an Instagram app for children 13 and younger

As per a new piece by BuzzFeed News, Vishal Shah, Instagram’s VP of Product, who recently joined in December, posted internally that the company is working on the new app as a priority project, and that it will be making sure that the app is safe for kids to use.

“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,” Vishal Shah, Instagram’s vice president of product, wrote on an employee message board on Thursday. “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.”

This new announcement has been revealed just a few days after Instagram announced updates that would restrict adults from messaging teenagers who don’t follow them. Instagram allows users 13 and older to use the service, however, these new policy changes will restrict predatory behavior, and make it difficult for adults to find and follow teenagers on the service.

However, the new Instagram app for kids will be akin to Messenger for kids app, which allows parents or guardians to control their kids’ usage. Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, told Buzzfeed News that more kids want to use Instagram, therefore the company is working on a solution by creating a specific version of Instagram just for kids.

“We have to do a lot here,” he said, “but part of the solution is to create a version of Instagram for young people or kids where parents have transparency or control. It’s one of the things we’re exploring.”

YouTube already has a variant for kids that is very popular around the world, but with services that are targeted towards kids, the level of scrutiny increases considerably. There are also strict rules on advertising towards kids, and making a social network like Instagram to be safe for them would be a tough challenge.

Messenger for Kids previously had a bug that allowed unauthorized adult users to join group chats with kids, so Facebook does not really have a great record here.

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