December 10, 2022
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg urges religious leaders to end Instagram Kids plan

Reverends, rabbis and other religious leaders urged Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday to permanently suspend the company’s plans for an Instagram version aimed at young users, advocacy group Fairplay and their children’s screens. In a letter sent by Time Action Network.

Since last September, Instagram has shelved its plans to offer a version of the photo-sharing app for kids, as opposition to the project has mounted.

“After much meditation and prayer, we emphasize that social media platforms that target immature minds, practice unethical data mining, and are driven by profit motives, are good for the greater good of children. are not a tool for this,” said the letter, which was signed over and over. More than 70 religious leaders.

Instagram and its parent company, Meta Platforms formerly Facebook, have come under intense scrutiny over the potential impact of their services on mental health, body image, and the safety of young users, with whistleblower Frances Hogen about the company’s approach. Internal documents have been leaked in. young user.

In December, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, was told by a Senate panel about the safety of children online. A coalition of state attorneys general has also launched an investigation into Meta for promoting Instagram to children despite potential harm.

Meta has said that the leaked documents have been used to present a false picture of the company’s work. It has also said that the idea of ​​Instagram for Kids was to give young users a safe, dedicated space to connect with the service.

Instagram, like other social media sites, rules against joining the platform for children under the age of 13, but said it knows it has users under this age.

Letters from faith groups, which quoted the Bible, the Koran, Pope Francis and Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hohn, called out Zuckerberg, as someone in the past said that religion is “too important” to identify with the spiritual. As to secular concerns about the project.

Instagram declined to comment on the letter.

Reuters reported solid outreach last year in Meta’s efforts to increase engagement for the religious community on its platforms. The company, which has a dedicated faith partnership team, rolled out a new feature for on-site prayer and sending, shipped mini tool kits for streaming worship during the COVID-19 pandemic, and last year held its first virtual faith summit. organized.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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