N.C., S.C. attorneys general join group against Instagram for kids

Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 12:46 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WMBF/WBTV) - North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson are among 44 attorneys general now 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.”

“Launching a version of Instagram for young children is a terrible idea,” said Attorney General Stein. “Facebook’s inability to stop the spread of disinformation, protect people’s personal information, and stop abuse provides no confidence that the company would be able to protect our young people online.”

Stein continued, “I am particularly concerned about the impact even more social media at a younger age could have on our children’s emotional well-being. Keeping our kids safe is job one for all of us. That’s why I oppose Facebook’s ill-considered and dangerous move to allow young children on Instagram.”

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.

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.

The full letter can be read below:

Copyright 2021 WMBF. WBTV contributed to this article. All rights reserved.