COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio Attorney General David Yost is joining other officials across the U.S. in demanding that Facebook abandon its plan to launch a version of Instagram for children under the age of 13.
Yost says it “threatens their safety and well-being.”
In a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the coalition of 44 attorneys general contend that social media can be detrimental to children for myriad reasons. Facebook owns Instagram.
“Facebook and Instagram already have too much control over what we see, hear and buy – and when you add in the dangers of online predators and cyberbullying, it’s unsafe for children,” Yost said. “Until Mr. Zuckerberg can prove that he’s doing more to police these platforms, he needs to stay away from our kids.”
Yost and his colleagues contend that children under 13 are “ill-equipped to handle the many challenges associated with an Instagram account.”
At a congressional hearing in March, Zuckerberg dismissed the idea that social media is harmful to children, despite strong data and research identifying a link between young people’s use of social media and an increase in mental distress, self-injurious behavior and suicidal thoughts. Researchers have frequently flagged Instagram as a contributor to suicidal ideation, depression, and body-image concerns among children.
In their letter, the attorneys general cast doubt on Facebook’s ability to protect children on the proposed Instagram platform and to comply with relevant privacy laws, such as the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and that company has a history of failing to protect the safety and privacy of children.