Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) is creating a version of the photo-sharing app Instagram meant for children under 13 years as it seeks to get its products into the hands of next-gen internet users. The company announced the app on Thursday, but it is yet to launch.
Instagram for Kids to launch
Currently, Instagram requires users to be above 13 years, and the social media giant is now planning to have a version of the app for kids. Instagram, which Facebook acquired for $1 billion almost a decade ago, is a popular social networking platform but has failed to resonate with pre-teenagers. A company spokesperson said that Facebook was considering launching a parent-controlled version of Instagram similar to its Messenger Kids app for kids aged 6-12. The spokesperson added that kids are increasingly asking parents if they can join apps to connect with friends. However, currently, there are not many options available for parents, and the social media giant is working to build additional products suitable for kids, supervise by parents.
As a result, Facebook is considering having a parent-controlled Instagram app to help kids connect with friends, discover new interests and hobbies, and many more. Already the company has Messenger Kids, which is a version of Facebook Messenger for pre-teens. The app has several parental controls, but a shortcoming previously allowed children to chat with people without parental approval. This sparked criticism from regulators who thought the company didn’t do enough to protect children.
Facebook introduces measures to protect teens
In a blog post, Facebook indicated that although they require users to enter their age when signing up from Instagram, nothing can prevent them from lying about age. However, the company has indicated that it will overcome this through machine learning and combination with registration age to determine people’s exact age on the platform. Equally, Facebook introduces safety features that include preventing adults from messaging users under 18 who are not following them and making it hard for adults to search and follow teens on Instagram.