Lawmakers Call For Facebook To Drop 'Instagram For Kids' Plan

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio)— Lawmakers called for Facebook to abandon its plan for an 'Instagram for Kids' app after a report detailed how Facebook downplayed negative mental health impacts to the public.

Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Lori Trahan wrote a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg after the Wall Street Journal released a report on Facebook's research into how its apps affect young users.

“The recently uncovered evidence published in the Wall Street Journal underscores Facebook’s responsibility to fundamentally change its approach to engaging with children and teens online," the lawmakers wrote in their letter. "That starts with Facebook abandoning its plans to launch a new version of Instagram for kids.”

In the report, a company slideshow obtained by the Wall Street Journal detailed Facebooks finding on how their apps impact teens mental health. One slide reportedly said that apps like Instagram "make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls."

Instagram responded to the Wall Street Journal in a statement claiming the article took its research out of context.

"While the story focuses on a limited set of findings and casts them in a negative light, we stand by this research," Karina Newton, Instagram's Head of Public Policy, wrote. "It demonstrates our commitment to understanding complex and difficult issues young people may struggle with, and informs all the work we do to help those experiencing these issues."

Markey and Trahan previously wrote a letter to Zuckerberg with questions on how Facebook would better protect kids using its platforms earlier this year.

WBZ's Drew Moholland (@DrewWBZ) has more.

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