Facebook Is Developing An Instagram For Kids And It Could Be A Money Maker

As TikTok continues to rise in popularity, the short-form video is quickly taking over as the preferred format for content creation in today’s digital landscape. It seems like the days when photos were the go-to medium for self-expression are long behind us… or are they? According to Facebook, there are still avenues to explore within that sector of social media, and it plans to dive headfirst into the opportunity.

Facebook has announced that it will be developing an Instagram-like app for children under 13 to keep them in a controlled space that is free of ads and unsafe content. The move is part of an initiative to keep younger users off of Instagram where they technically are not allowed to have accounts.

When Facebook acquired Instagram back in 2012, it did not require new users to provide their birthdates upon sign-up. Such requirement was only introduced in 2019, when the company started to weed out people who were not of age to use the app.

However, despite the age requirement and other efforts to limit children’s usage of the app, Instagram has not been successful in preventing them from logging in. In fact, studies have shown that 81 percent of young individuals between the ages of eight and 13 participate in social media on a daily basis, even with enhanced restrictions in place. Clearly, kids will not be abandoning the app anytime soon.

With that in mind, a youth-centric Instagram app could be a possible solution. Not only would it lure kids off of the mature app and into a more kid-friendly environment, it would also allow for easier ad-targeting of key demographics across their platforms. Considering that Instagram makes most of its profits via ads, such advantages are surely appealing.

Facebook has dipped its toes into kids’ apps before, first with its launch of Messenger Kids in 2017. The chat service is similar to Facebook Messenger, but it is geared towards children between 6 to 12 years old and it is ad-free. Parents must also grant their children access to the app through their Facebook accounts so there is that added layer of protection.

That said, the privacy policy for Messenger Kids notes that Facebook will still be collecting data from children’s images, voices, location, birthdays and genders in order to develop other Facebook products and further optimize targeting. The information wouldn’t necessarily be used to serve ads to the kids directly, but instead to their parents, who are the ones with the credit cards. Should Facebook roll out an Instagram for kids, it will likely employ this same strategy.