Citing internal company data, Bloomberg reports that the developers of the social networking site Facebook are working on a new version of Instagram aimed at children under 13. Parents will be able to control how their children use the app.
The creation of the Instagram Kids application was announced in a letter from the Instagram vice president of product, Vishal Shah, which was sent to the company's employees. There, he noted that the update will allow children under the age of 13 to use the platform safely, and that working with young people is one of the top priorities for the social media platform.
In a comment, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri said that “kids are increasingly asking their parents if they can join apps that help them keep up with their friends,” but verifying their age is still a problem. “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,” he assured.
Only users who are 13 years old and more can now create an Instagram account, but many teens get around this limitation. As Instagram recently announced, the platform will soon introduce a feature that will independently check the age of a user using artificial intelligence.
By creating a new service for children, Facebook intends to expand its user audience. Instagram considers users under the age of 13 as a viable growth segment, especially given how popular the service is among teens.
Bloomberg quoted another employee of the company, Facebook spokesman Joe Osborne, who clarified that nowadays, parents do not have many ways to protect their children on social media. The company understands this, so it is developing additional products for children, like Messenger Kids, where adults get access to all data. Messenger Kids is the teen version of the Facebook messaging app, which includes a number of parental controls.
“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.”
Osborne emphasized that the Facebook team will focus on privacy and security when creating the new version of the application.
Reportedly, the development of the new product will be directly overseen by Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri and vice president Pavni Diwanji, who joined the company in December last year and used to work at Google, where she was working on children-focused audience products like YouTube Kids.
Instagram has also decided to protect teens from unwanted messages from adults. The social media platform will prohibit adult users from messaging teens who do not follow them.