“The use of social media can harm the health and well-being of children, who are not equipped to face the challenges of having a social media account,” officials said in a letter.
“Also, Facebook has historically been unable to protect the well-being of children on its platforms,” they said.
The letter was signed by attorneys general for the District of Columbia and three U.S. territories.
A Facebook spokesman said the company “has just started exploring a version of Instagram for children” and said it was committed “not to show ads in any Instagram experience we develop for children under 13 ”.
The company said it accepted any version of the photo sharing application Instagram “should prioritize your safety and privacy and we will consult child development, child safety and mental health experts and privacy advocates to inform you.”
The bipartisan letter, which was signed by attorneys general in New York, Texas, California, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Michigan, Ohio, Utah, Vermont, Kentucky and others, said that “it seems that Facebook is not responding to a need, but creating a “.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said on Twitter that Instagram for children “is a shameful attempt to exploit and take advantage of vulnerable people.”
The letter said 2019 media reports showed that Facebook’s Messenger Kids app, aimed at children between the ages of six and 12, “contained a significant design flaw that allowed children to circumvent restrictions on online interactions. and join group chats with strangers that were not previously approved by the children’s parents. ”
Last month, the Campaign for a Trade-Free Childhood also asked Zuckerberg not to create a children’s version, saying it would put them at “great risk.”