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Facebook hopes a social network dedicated to young people will help steer pre-teens away from the adult version.
Facebook is thought to be taking Instagram in a new direction. Based on an internal memo published by BuzzFeed News, and backed up by comments made by Instagram head Adam Mosseri, the plan is to build a version of Instagram aimed at kids under the age of 13.
“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,” vice president of product Vishal Shah wrote on an employee message board this week. “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 teams,” Shah continued, “and (b) building a version of Instagram that allows people under the age of 13 to safely use Instagram for the first time.”
Instagram currently requires everyone to be at least 13 when registering for an account. And while it’s easy enough to game the system and enter a fake birthday, Facebook hopes that an entire social network dedicated to young people will help steer pre-teens away from the adult platform and onto their own service. According to the message board post, the project will be overseen by Instagram head Adam Mosseri and led by new vice president Pavni Diwanji, who previously oversaw Google’s child-focused pursuits, including YouTube Kids.
Instagram knows that “more and more kids” want to use the app, which can’t easily verify children’s ages. “We have to do a lot here,” Mosseri told BuzzFeed. “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.” The company doesn’t yet have a “detailed plan,” he added.
The report comes just two days after Instagram announced fresh features and resources designed to “keep our youngest community members safe.” That includes a new Parents Guide with the latest safety tools and privacy settings; direct message restrictions between teens and adults they don’t know; and safety notices encouraging caution among young users.