On Monday, In a open letter, US National Association of Attorneys General told Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to cancel its plans to build Instagram for children under the age of 13. The letter is signed by 44 different state-level attorneys general representing a majority of US territories.
“It appears that Facebook is not responding to a need, but instead creating one, as this platform appeals primarily to children who otherwise do not or would not have an Instagram account,” the letter reads. “The attorneys general urge Facebook to abandon its plans to launch this new platform.”
Though the letter has no formal legal power, it emphasizes the significant legal risk Facebook will face in undertaking the project. In the US, children under 13 are subject to enhanced legal protections under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (or COPPA), which places particularly stringent rules against data collection.
In its statement Facebook said it would not sell ads on any Instagram app targeted at young children but did not back off on its interest in developing the app.
Facebook policy representative Andy Stone said: “We’ve just started exploring a version of Instagram for kids. We agree that any experience we develop must prioritize their safety and privacy, and we will consult with experts in child development, child safety and mental health, and privacy advocates to inform it. We also look forward to working with legislators and regulators, including the nation’s attorneys general. In addition, we commit today to not showing ads in any Instagram experience we develop for people under the age of 13.”