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Attorneys General urge Facebook to halt app launch geared toward kids

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Attorneys General urge Facebook to halt app launch geared toward kids

(WSAZ) – Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron are part of a coalition of attorneys general from across the country urging Facebook not to launch an app for children under the age of 13.

The letter from the 44 attorneys general to Mark Zuckerburg gives reasons why they think Instagram is not a good idea for children.

Facebook owns Instagram.

The letter said in part, “The use of social media can adversely affect the health and wellbeing of children who are unable to cope with the challenges of having a social media account. Additionally, Facebook has failed to protect the well-being of children on its platforms in the past. “

According to the letter, Facebook and Instagram reported 20 million images of child sexual abuse as recently as last year. A press release said: “The coalition also states that young children often lack a strong understanding of privacy, which makes them more vulnerable to online predators.”

Cameron, a Republican, says this platform would be another way to reach out to vulnerable children.

“We have a responsibility to protect our youngest citizens, and a version of Instagram specifically designed for children under the age of 13 poses significant health and safety risks for children in Kentucky,” he said. “We already know that child robbers regularly use social media platforms to communicate with children, and we cannot give them a new opportunity to target those who are most vulnerable to exploitation,” he said.

Republican Attorney General Yost said in a press release that researchers have flagged Instagram as a contributor to things like suicide, depression, and body image issues.

“Facebook and Instagram already have too much control over what we see, hear and buy – and when you add the dangers of online predators and cyberbullying, it’s unsafe for kids,” Yost said. “Until Mr. Zuckerberg can prove he’s doing more to monitor these platforms, he’ll have to stay away from our children.”

The letter reads: “A survey from 2017 found that 42 percent of young Instagram users had experienced cyberbullying on the platform, the highest percentage of all platforms measured.”

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