This week Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan led a bipartisan group of 44 Attorneys General across the country asking Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to abandon his planned launch of Instagram Kids - for children under the age of 13.
The letter (which we’re publishing in full, with annotations) outlines all of the vast danger and destruction wrought against children by Zuckerberg’s insidious creations. If you’re a parent, or know one, it’s worth reading the letter and all the accompanying source material.
Regardless if they’re allowed to launch a product for pre-teens, these companies are already child predators - harvesting troves of data on defenseless kids, maximizing their lifetime value. Most social media spaces are cesspools but the ones for adolescents are particularly cruel - exploiting biological insecurity and psychological needs for status and inclusion.
These depraved platforms are the single biggest danger your kids face. They’re brilliantly designed to lure and trap children into an anti-social pit of despair. Their devices call to them 24 hours a day, literally and emotionally, so there’s nowhere for your kids to hide. Once drawn in, they’re subject to the whims and unspeakable cruelty of the anonymous cyber-horde.
These companies have engineered methods to end-run even the most sophisticated efforts to monitor the activity of kids. After reading countless tragic tales of kids who killed themselves, and their loving parents who had no idea what was going on, we’ve reached a single, unequivocal conclusion: If you want happy, well-adjusted children, social media literally cannot be allowed in their young lives.
We applaud the Attorneys General for taking a strong stand but it’s not enough. These immoral companies operate under gutless cover from the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998. That act, which predated social media’s dystopian surveillance apparatus, made it illegal to collect data on children under 13.
We would like Congress to amend the folly at the same time they modify section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. To protect American children, the registration age for social media should be raised to 18 and these platforms should no longer be legally shielded for the terrible damage and division they cause through 230 impunity.
These companies are evil, they will not police themselves.