Facebook Is Building An Instagram For Kids Under The Age Of 13

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Executives at Instagram are planning to build a version of the popular photo-sharing app that can be used by children under the age of 13, according to an internal company post obtained by TheNewstip.

“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 message board on Thursday. “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 and (b) building a version of Instagram that allows people under the age of 13 to safely use Instagram for the first time.”

Current Instagram policy forbids children under the age of 13 from using the service.

According to the post, the work would be overseen by Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, and led by Pavni Diwanji, a vice president who joined parent company Facebook in December. Previously, Diwanji worked at Google, where she oversaw the search giant’s children-focused products, including YouTube Kids.

Current Instagram policy forbids children under the age of 13 from using the service.

The internal announcement comes two days after Instagram said it needs to do more to protect its youngest users. Following coverage and public criticism of the abuse, bullying, or predation faced by teens on the app, the company published a blog post on Tuesday titled “Continuing to Make Instagram Safer for the Youngest Members of Our Community.”

That post makes no mention of Instagram’s intent to build a product for children under the age of 13, but states, “We require everyone to be at least 13 to use Instagram and have asked new users to their age when they sign up for an account for some time.”

The announcement lays the groundwork for how Facebook — whose family of products is used by 3.3 billion people every month — plans to expand its user base. While various laws limit how companies can build products for and target children, Instagram clearly sees kids under 13 as a viable growth segment, particularly because of the app’s popularity among teens.

In a short interview, Mosseri told TheNewstip that the company knows that “more and more kids” want to use apps like Instagram and that it was a challenge verifying their age, given most people don’t get identification documents until they are in their mid-to-late teens.

“We have to do a lot here,” he said, “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.”

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