Facebook plans to pause its work on a kids version of Instagram amid backlash over the effort, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The social media giant announced earlier this year that it would develop a version for children that would not have any ads and allow parents to monitor their kids’ activity.
“I still firmly believe that it’s a good thing to build a version of Instagram that’s safe for tweens, but we want to take the time to talk to parents and researchers and safety experts and get to more consensus about how to move forward,” Instagram chief Adam Mosseri told NBC News on Monday.
Mosseri said that other platforms like YouTube and TikTok already have versions for kids.
“Critics of ‘Instagram Kids’ will see this as an acknowledgment that the project is a bad idea. That’s not the case,” he said.
Colorado Republican Rep. Ken Buck on Twitter said that the company should abolish the program entirely.
Lawmakers have criticized the plan, arguing that it could be damaging to young people’s mental health.
The Wall Street Journal earlier this month published internal company research showing that Instagram was harmful to teenage girls’ mental health.
“We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls,” one 2019 presentation slide said.
In May, 44 attorneys general urged Facebook to drop plans to develop a kids version of Instagram.
Facebook executives say the kids version is beneficial because it would have stronger safety controls than the current platform, which bars people under 13 but admits many sign up anyway.
Mosseri and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have also argued that social media can help kids form social connections.
Mosseri said that the regular platform will soon roll out parental controls for families with older children.
“Parents of kids of all ages are looking for more ways to supervise and control their kids’ experiences online,” he said.