A group of Democratic lawmakers wrote to Mark Zuckerberg this week to pressure the CEO on his plans to produce a version of Instagram with children. At a hearing last month, Zuckerberg confirmed reporting by Buzzfeed that the company was searching for an age-graded version of its app designed for younger users.
Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Richard Blumental (D-CT) and Representatives Lori Trehan (D-MA) and Kathy Castor (D-FL) signed the letter, regarding the company’s ability to protect privacy Expressed “serious concern”. And well being of younger users.
“Facebook has an obligation to ensure that any new platform or project targeting children is the welfare of those users first, and we suspect Facebook is ready to fulfill this obligation,” the lawmakers said. Wrote
He cited past failures with products such as Messenger Kids, which had a flaw that allowed children to chat with people beyond their privacy criteria.
“Although software bugs are common, the episode threatened children’s privacy online and gave evidence of Facebook’s inability to protect children actively invited to this platform,” the lawmakers wrote.
“In light of these and other previous privacy and security issues on Facebook’s platforms, we do not believe that Facebook will be able to adequately protect children’s privacy on a version of Instagram for younger users.”
The letter set an April 26 deadline for the company to answer comprehensive and useful specific questions about the child’s targeted product in the future.
In the letter, lawmakers answered several questions about how Facebook would handle personal data for younger users and if this data would be deleted when the account expired. He also called on the company not to target children with ads and committed push alerts and behavior-shaping features designed to make the apps more addictive not work.
During last month’s big tech hearing in the House, committee members from both political parties told Zuckerberg about how Facebook and Instagram affect mental health in young users. Rape Castor also pressed the chief executive about younger users, who use Instagram’s current age guidelines to use a platform full of posts, videos, and advertisements designed for adults.
“Of course, every parent knows that there are children under 13 on Instagram, and the problem is that you know it,” Zuckerberg said.