Technology

Instagram 'pausing' kid-targeted plan

Instagram announced Monday that it is pausing plans to launch a version of the photo-sharing app targeted for children under the age of 13 following leaked internal reports showing the platform's effect on the mental health of young users.

Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, wrote in a blog post that delaying the new version of the app is not an acknowledgement that the plan is a bad idea.

"The reality is that kids are already online, and we believe that developing age-appropriate experiences designed specifically for them is far better for parents than where we are today," he explained.

The project, dubbed "Instagram Kids," had already been criticized by lawmakers and privacy groups before The Wall Street Journal's explosive reporting on internal Facebook research.

The Journal obtained company slides showing that, among other things, Instagram made one-third of teen girls feel worse about their bodies.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, has pushed back strongly on the Journal's characterization of its research, publishing a blog post Sunday with the slide upon which that conclusion was based. 

The slide suggests that Instagram helped teenage girls dealing with loneliness and anxiety.

The company has not released the data behind that research, however.

Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone tweeted Sunday that the full slides are being shared with Congress in advance of a hearing Thursday and that the company is "evaluating how we can release it to the public at some point."

The Silicon Valley giant will also be providing an executive for the hearing before the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection Thursday focused on the Journal's reporting.

Outbrain