Facebook is reportedly building a version of Instagram for children aged 13 and under, who are currently forbidden from joining its main app.
“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 internal employee message board, according to BuzzFeed News.
The new app would be overseen by Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, and Pavni Diwanji who was previously the head of Google’s child-friendly version of YouTube, called YouTube Kids.
Mosseri told BuzzFeed that the company knows “more and more kids” want to use Instagram but that age verification is a challenge for the company. Instagram apparently does not have a “detailed plan” for the development of its child-focused Instagram project.
“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.”
This news comes after Instagram announced new tools to stop adults and children interacting on the platform, such as using artificial intelligence to mark ‘suspicious’ behaviour on the app and encouraging teenagers to use private accounts.
Instagram has historically struggled to stop sexual abusers on its platform, and paedophiles have increasingly used the social media app to target children, the NSPCC said in 2019.
A recent report from cloud storage company pCloud also called Instagram the ‘most invasive app’, reportedly collecting 79 per cent of its users’ personal data to share with third parties, including search history, location, contacts and financial info.