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Following a congressional hearing alleging that its products post harm towards children, Facebook is introducing several new features aimed at better protecting its younger users, including prompting teens to take a break using its photo-sharing app, Instagram, and “nudging” teens if they are repeatedly viewing content that is harmful to their health.
Facebook, the California-based company co-founded by Mark Zuckerberg, also plans to give additional restrictions on Facebook updates for adults of teens on an opt-in basis, allowing parents and guardians to monitor what their children are doing online.
These measures follow Facebook’s announcement late last month that it will put its Instagram for Kids project on hold.
However, the platform’s critics are not impressed and are doubtful of the effectiveness of the company’s new objective.
The public announcement came after Facebook’s own research study showed that an overwhelming amount of youngsters are experiencing negative effects on Facebook.
The platform is also accused that it allegedly has a VIP list of high-profile users that go against its rules.
As reported by Adam Smith of The Independent, The Executive Director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, Josh Golin, expressed his opinions and said that introducing controls to help parents monitor their children and teens would not be as effective as it could be since many would just opt to create multiple secret accounts to buy more time spent in their desired social media platform.
Golin strongly believes that the Instagram project for kids created by Facebook should be canceled.
Furthermore, he also doubted whether nagging kids to take a break or move away from Instagram or Facebook would be useful, unless unfollowing everything.
He also stated that the social media app must demonstrate how they will implement it and provide evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of these features.
Last week, Frances Haugen, a former Facebook data scientist, testified before the Congress, accusing the company of failing to make changes to Instagram after internal research revealed that it was causing harm to some teenagers, and of being dishonest in its public fight against hate and misinformation.
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The Facebook update and the Instagram changes were highlighted by Facebook’s Vice President for global affairs, Nick Clegg.
CBS News reported during the State of the Union interview with Dana Bash, Clegg said that they are continuously and constantly trying to improve their products.
“We cannot, with a wave of the wand, make everyone’s life perfect. What we can do is improve our products, so that our products are as safe and as enjoyable to use,” the Facebook exec said.
In related news, the company behind the biggest social media platform has banned developer Louis Barclay, who was behind the extension known as Unfollow Everything, as per Business Insider.
According to the report, the extension removes a users’ news feed by unfollowing everything on the platform, making them stay much less on the app. Nevertheless, Barclay said he was sent a cease-and-desist letter by Facebook in July, and that he was forced off the platform completely.
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