Religious Leaders Urge Zuckerberg to Discontinue Development of Instagram for Kids

Instagram kids
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Meta suspended its plans to continue with the development of the kids version of Instagram in September last year. A section of religious leaders has now called on the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Zuckerberg to permanently drop the plans to develop the app.

The group of Reverends, Rabbis, and other religious leaders sent out a letter to the CEO through advocacy group Fairplay and their Children’s Screen Time Action Network

“After much meditation and prayer, we assert that social media platforms that target immature brains, practice unethical data mining, and are inspired by profit motives are not a tool for the greater good of children,” the letter signed by more than 70 religious leaders said.

Read: Instagram to Introduce Parental Control Feature for Teenage Users

Last year, the social media giant attracted backlash after whistleblower Frances Haugen revealed Meta’s moderation lapses. A report publicized by the WSJ showed that Facebook’s internal investigation revealed that the app was causing mental and body image issues to young users on the app.

A Senate panel grilled Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri in December about children’s internet safety. A group of state attorneys general has also launched an investigation into Meta for pushing Instagram to youngsters despite the risks.

According to Meta, the leaked documents were used to present a false picture of the company’s operations. The company says that the idea behind Instagram Kids is to provide a safer, dedicated space for younger users to interact with the service.

Read also: Facebook to Ban Content that Sexually Harasses Celebrities

Like other social media platforms, Instagram prohibits children under the age of 13 from joining, although it has acknowledged that it has users under this age.

The religious leaders quoted the Bible, Qur’an, Pope Francis and Buddhist monk Thích Nhất Hạnh, in the letter, saying someone who has previously stated that religion is “extremely important,” Zuckerberg should be aware of both spiritual and secular concerns regarding the initiative.

Instagram did not comment on the letter.

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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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