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S.C. attorney general fights plans to launch Instagram for kids

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Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 8:33 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson is one of 44 attorneys general asking Facebook not to launch a version of Instagram for children.

According to a press release, the coalition is citing concerns about the safety and well-being of children under the age of 13 and the “harm social media poses to young people.”

In a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg, the coalition contends that social media can be detrimental to children for a myriad of reasons and that Facebook has “historically failed to protect the welfare of children on its platforms,” the release stated.

“Protecting our children is one of the most important duties that all of us share. Parents already have to worry about predators who target their children online, so having an app that’s just for children under 13 is a dangerous idea,” Wilson said. “Not only is it a potential hunting ground for predators, it would also expose more children to online bullying, as well as unhealthy peer-pressure surrounding looks, clothing, and social status.”

In their letter, the attorneys general express various concerns over Facebook’s proposal, including research that social media can be harmful to the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of children; rapidly worsening concerns about cyberbullying on Instagram; use of the platform by predators to target children; Facebook’s checkered record in protecting the welfare of children on its platforms; and children’s lack of capacity to navigate the complexities of what they encounter online, including advertising, inappropriate content and relationships with strangers, the press release stated.

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