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Facebook planning to create version of Instagram for children under 13: report

Facebook planning to create version of Instagram for children under 13: report
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Facebook is planning to create a version of Instagram for children under the age of 13, according to documents obtained by BuzzFeed News.

“I’m excited to announce that going forward, we have identified youth work as a priority for Instagram and have added it to our H1 priority list,” Vishal Shah, Instagram's vice president of product, wrote on an employee board, according to BuzzFeed.

“We will be building a new youth pillar within the Community Product Group to focus on two things: (a) accelerating our integrity and privacy work to ensure the safest possible experience for teens and (b) building a version of Instagram that allows people under the age of 13 to safely use Instagram for the first time," Shah added.

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The new project will reportedly be overseen by Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, and led by Pavni Diwanji, a vice president at Facebook. Diwanji previously worked at Google, where she oversaw the creation of children's products like YouTube Kids.

Instagram’s terms of use currently prohibit people under of 13 from using the app.

“We have to do a lot here,” Mosseri told BuzzFeed. "But part of the solution is to create a version of Instagram for young people or kids where parents have transparency or control. It’s one of the things we’re exploring.”

Mosseri said the project was in early development and added that Instagram does not yet have a “detailed plan" in place.

“Increasingly kids are asking their parents if they can join apps that help them keep up with their friends. Right now there aren’t many options for parents, so we’re working on building additional products  like we did with Messenger Kids  that are suitable for kids, managed by parents," a Facebook company spokesperson told The Hill in a statement. "We’re exploring bringing a parent-controlled experience to Instagram to help kids keep up with their friends, discover new hobbies and interests, and more."

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BuzzFeed notes that Instagram had just this week published a blog post addressing bullying among its younger, teenage users.

"We require everyone to be at least 13 to use Instagram and have asked new users to provide their age when they sign up for an account for some time. While many people are honest about their age, we know that young people can lie about their date of birth," Instagram wrote in the Tuesday blog post"To address this challenge, we’re developing new artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to help us keep teens safer and apply new age-appropriate features."

The new features included restricting direct messages between teens and adults they don't follow, prompting teens to be more cautious about interactions in direct messages, encouraging teens to make their accounts private and making it harder for adults to find and follow teens.