In mid-March of this year, media outlet BuzzFeed said on Instagram they were working on a version of Instagram for kids under 13. Remember that the minimum age to use this platform is 14 years old.
This idea, as far-fetched as it sounds from a parent’s point of view (as I do) has been officially confirmed by Facebook. despite the rejection expressed by various organizations when this information was disclosed through the Ad-Free Childhood campaign, a campaign created by 35 consumer and children’s organizations.
As stated in the Facebook post where the company confirmed the news:
We are looking for ways to reduce the incentive for people under 13 to tell lies about their age. The reality is they are already online and since there is no surefire way to stop people from distorting their age, we want to create experiences designed especially for them, managed by parents and guardians.
This includes a new Instagram experience for tweens. We believe encouraging them to use an age-appropriate, parent-managed experience is the right way to go.
Does Facebook Really Think Children Under 13 use a capped version of Instagram without having access to the same type of content that they currently have? It seems that whoever has ideas on Facebook doesn’t have children or know anyone who does.
Safety of minors on the platform
Facebook states that accounts for minors will focus on three pillars to provide a more secure and private experience on Instagram:
- By default, accounts activated by children under 13 will be private (it does not specify if it can be made public or if only parents can make the change). This way, other users will not be able to comment on the content posted by children.
- Make it harder for potentially suspicious accounts to find young people.
- Limit the possibilities for advertisers to reach young people with ads.
Mark Zuckberg’s company claims that some countries like the United States, France, United Kingdom, Japan and Australia are using technology that will help the company to find accounts that have shown potentially suspicious behavior, that is, adult accounts that may have been blocked or reported in the past by a young person.
Regarding the subject of data collection and advertising:
In a few weeks, advertisers will only be allowed to target people under the age of 18 (or older in some countries) based on their age, gender and location.
This means that previously available targeting options, such as those based on interest or your activity on other apps and websites, will no longer be available to advertisers. These changes will be global and will apply to Instagram, Facebook and Messenger.
In summary: what will not track user activity to target your ads. Tell me another Facebook.
For the defense of minors
The Ad-Free Childhood campaign claims that this version for the little ones will make them more vulnerable and manipulable and that it focuses on those who do not have an account on the platform.
The true audience for a kid’s version of Instagram will be much younger kids who don’t currently have an account on the platform.
While collecting valuable family data and cultivating a new generation of Instagram users can be good for Facebook’s bottom line, it will likely increase the use of the app by young children who are particularly vulnerable to the manipulative and exploitative characteristics of the platform.
Facebook has been characterized in recent years by continuous lies, so there has come a time when it doesn’t we cannot create anything from what he says.
When it indicates that it will not allow you to create campaigns based on the data collected by the application Who will believe it? The more data you provide to advertisers to target their ads, the more money they’ll pay for ad campaigns.
Facebook’s decision to create a (they say) capped version of Instagram aims to expand the user base who to target advertising to. I am so thankful that the thinking minds of Instagram and Facebook (which are ultimately the same) have children under the age of 13, as I mentioned above.
To some extent, I can understand that it is difficult to verify the actual age of users. Mark Zuckerberg’s platform can rely on the various parental control tools that iOS and Android make available to users.
But of course, they don’t care and they demonstrate once again what Francisco de Quevedo said: Mr. money is a mighty gentleman. Hopefully the European Union will act on this when this version is launched in Europe.