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Lawmakers Push Facebook To Abandon Instagram For Kids, Citing Mental Health Concerns : NPR | #socialmedia | #education | #technology | #infosec



New reporting on what Facebook knows about the risks of Instagram to teenagers is fueling pressure from Washington.

Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images

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Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images

New reporting on what Facebook knows about the risks of Instagram to teenagers is fueling pressure from Washington.

Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are pressing Facebook to abandon its plans to build a version of its Instagram app for kids and demanding the company share research into how Instagram affects teenage users.

Renewed scrutiny of Facebook’s risks to teenagers’ well-being was sparked by a Wall Street Journal story published Tuesday that revealed the social media giant’s own research has found Instagram, the photo-sharing app it also owns, is particularly harmful to some teenage girls.

On Wednesday, Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Reps. Kathy Castor of Florida and Lori Trahan of Massachusetts, all Democrats, sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg raising concerns about the company’s plans to launch a version of Instagram for users under 13. (Children are not allowed on the current app because of federal privacy law.)

They cited Zuckerberg’s testimony at a March House hearing in which he claimed that research into the impacts of social media on children’s mental health is not conclusive.

“Although you have publicly told Congress that ‘the research [I have] seen is that using social apps to connect with other people can have positive mental-health benefits,’ your own company’s research points to disturbing relationships between Instagram use and young people’s mental health challenges,” Markey, Castor and Trahan wrote.



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