October 26, 2021

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Facebook Will Likely Resume Work On Instagram For Kids, Whistleblower Tells Congress

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Facebook’s temporary pause on building a Instagram for children will likely only be exactly that: temporary, company whistleblower Frances Haugen told Congress Tuesday morning.

“Facebook understands if it wants to continue to grow, they have to find new users,” Haugen said, a “new generation just as engaged with Instagram” as the platform’s current users.

Facebook said it was halting work on Instagram for Kids last month after Haugen leaked 2020 internal research to the Wall Street Journal showing how the platform harms teenagers’ mental health. This is a deeply and longly held desire on the company’s, extending back as far as 2017 when Facebook thought about building Facebook-branded version of a kids social network before switching to launching Messenger Kids.

Children’s safety is the focus of the Senate hearing at which Haugen is appearing this morning. But the leaked research has put a spotlight on a slew of other issues at Facebook, including how it has chosen to allow misinformation to spread on its platform.

Haugen told the senators she’d be “amazed if a year from now we weren’t having a similar conversations” with Facebook at work again on Istagram for Kids.

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