- Instagram is planning to launch a version of the app with a chronological feed in 2022.
- The app has faced intense scrutiny over the potential impact of its content on young users’ mental health.
According to a 2020 study, extreme use of social media is significantly associated with an increased risk of addiction, loneliness, depression, and anxiety among Indian youth.
Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, has recently announced that the team is planning to launch a version of the app with a chronological feed next year. The announcement is made after Instagram and its parent company Meta Platforms Inc. have faced intense scrutiny over the potential impact of their contents on the young users’ mental health, safety, and body image.
Mosseri has shared that Instagram had been working for a few months on the option of a feed ordered chronologically and they are now planning to launch it in early 2022, as mentioned in The Economic Times. The feed is expected to bring a significant change for the Instagram service by replacing algorithmic ranking and creating a customized feed based on user preferences.
Since September, the team has suspended plans for the kids-focused version of the app after seeing growing opposition to the project. The decision was taken when a Wall Street Journal published a report that said the company already knew about the harmful mental health effects of Instagram on teens.
However, Mosseri made it clear that he never committed to making the pause permanent on the kids’ version of Instagram and public reporting misquoted the internal research. Though he talked about the product announcement that Instagram made recently on young users’ safety, Senator Marsha Blackburn addressed the updates as “too little, too late.” Additionally, Senator Blumenthal referred to Instagram’s pause on its kids’ version as a “public relations tactic.”
Blackburn shared that her team created a fake Instagram account for a 15-year-old that defaulted to a public account, despite Instagram’s updates to make new accounts private by default, specifically for users under 16. Later, Mosseri clarified that this loophole had been missed by mistake on the web version of the site and would be corrected soon.
Like any other social media site, the photo-sharing app Instagram also has certain rules against children under 13 as it knows that it has users of this age. The team has announced that they will bring more age verification technology at a phone level, rather than by individual tech platforms so that users can have an age-appropriate experience.
American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that it is extremely important for parents to limit the social media use of their children and teens and keep a check on what type of content they are watching.