Facebook urged by state attorneys general to scrap kids Instagram project

Over 40 state attorneys general signed on.

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Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
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Shelby Brown

State attorneys general voiced concern over Facebook's plans for a kids' version of Instagram. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

The National Association of Attorneys General is pressuring Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to shutter plans for a version of Instagram for kids under 13. Over 40 state attorneys general signed a six-page letter dated Monday that was addressed to the CEO.  

"Facebook has historically failed to protect the welfare of children on its platforms," the group said in the letter. 

The signees agreed that using social media could be detrimental to children's health and well-being, especially if they're not prepared to navigate the accompanying challenges. The letter also noted that social media sites exploit users' fear of missing out, aka FOMO, and can lead to body dissatisfaction, as well as low self-esteem. In addition, the attorneys general said that children don't have a developed understanding of privacy, which could cause future problems related to the permanency of the internet. 

"They are also simply too young to navigate the complexities of what they encounter online, including inappropriate content and online relationships where other users, including predators, can cloak their identities using the anonymity of the internet," the group said. 

Facebook didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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