Vermont’s Donovan joins attorneys general opposing new Instagram platform for kids

Local News

More than 40 attorneys general, including Vermont’s T.J. Donovan, are calling on Facebook to drop plans to create a version of Instagram for kids under the age of 13.

The 45 AGs signed a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressing concern about the potential for cyberbullying and how social media impacts the emotional well-being of children. The letter says Facebook has historically failed to protect the welfare of children on its platforms.

“The attorneys general have an interest in protecting our youngest citizens,” the letter states, “and Facebook’s plans to create a platform where kids under the age of 13 are encouraged to share content online is contrary to that interest.”

In a statement, Donovan’s office said that in 2020 alone, Facebook and Instagram reported 20 million child sexual abuse images. “Children’s mental well being is of the utmost importance and must be protected,” Donovan said in a statement Monday.

New York Attorney General Letitia James called Facebook’s plan “a dangerous idea that risks the safety of our children and puts them directly in harm’s way.

“There are too many concerns to let Facebook move forward with this ill-conceived idea, which is why we are calling on the company to abandon its launch of Instagram Kids. We must continue to ensure the health and wellness of our next generation and beyond.”

Facebook says the proposal would give parents more control over what kids who are already online are exposed to.

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