Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has joined a coalition of 44 attorneys general in sending a letter to Facebook opposing the company’s plans to create an Instagram platform for children.
The letter, which was sent to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, alleges that the platform would pose a threat to both children’s mental well being and create wider access for child predators.
“Facebook and Instagram already have too much control over what we see, hear and buy – and when you add in the dangers of online predators and cyberbullying, it’s unsafe for children,” Yost said in a statement. “Until Mr. Zuckerberg can prove that he’s doing more to police these platforms, he needs to stay away from our kids.”
The letter said that social media use among children has led to decreased self-esteem and increased self-harm or suicidal behaviors. It also said that it can lead to poor self-image, such as dissatisfaction with their body.
The attorneys general also pointed to privacy concerns with the platform, which would be geared at children under 13.
“Children do not have a developed understanding of privacy. Specifically, they may not fully appreciate what content is appropriate for them to share with others, the permanency of content they post on an online platform, and who has access to what they share online,” the letter reads. “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 coalition called on Facebook to drop its plans for creating an Instagram platform for children.
The attorneys general that signed the letter include those from Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Northern Mariana Islands, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Read the letter here.
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Ohio Star and the Star News Network. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair.
Image “Facebook with Zuckerburg” by Christoph Scholz CC2.0 and photo “Dave Yost” by Ohio Attorney General.