Facebook has plans to launch a new version of its Instagram app that can be used by children under the age of 13. The move is significant as the company currently forbids kids under the age of 13 from having an Instagram account. The existence of Facebook’s plans to build a new Instagram for kids was revealed via a post written on the company’s internal message board, which was obtained by BuzzFeed News.
The post was written by Vishal Shah, Instagram’s vice president of product, and states:
“I’m excited to announce that going forward, we have identified youth work as a priority for Instagram and have added it to our H1 priority list. We will be building a new youth pillar within the Community Product Group to focus on two things: (a) accelerating our integrity and privacy work to ensure the safest possible experience for teens and (b) building a version of Instagram that allows people under the age of 13 to safely use Instagram for the first time.”
Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, confirmed the authenticity of the post to BuzzFeed News and stated the company knows “more and more kids” want to use Instagram, but Facebook has a problem verifying their age in some cases because most people don’t get government identity documents until their later teen years, such as when they get their first driver’s license at the age of 16. This means Instagram could be losing some 13-year-old to 15-year-old users who are in actuality allowed to join the platform. A new app that is approved for those under 13 would at least give those unverifiable kids access to the platform in some way.
As for what the new Instagram for kids app might be like, Mosseri told BuzzFeed News it was still in the early days of its development and the company doesn’t have a “detailed plan” yet. “We have to do a lot here, but part of the solution is to create a version of Instagram for young people or kids where parents have transparency or control. It’s one of the things we’re exploring,” Mosseri said.