A new document handed over to the Congress by Facebook Whistleblower, Frances Haugen, indicate the company’s plans to introduce new products which will target younger kids. The announcement titled, “The internet wasn’t built with young people in mind, but we’re about to change that”, aims to design new products for children under 13 years old, with the exception of Messenger Kids.
The demographics contained in the document, indicate Facebook’s future plans targeting adults, later teens, early teens, tweens and kids, reaching as young as 6 year olds. The company wants to introduce distinctive features, defaults, settings, and education that will be tailor the product for each stage and category. Facebook claimed that up until now, 13+ year old users were treated like every other users while kids under 13 were discouraged to use their products. However, the app is ready to become inclusive of every age group.
Tailoring each age group model with special attention to cognitive and social maturity, Facebook is determined to include every member in its agenda, as its usage steadily declines by 13% in teens, and is predicted to decline a further 45% in the next two years.
However, in including kids in their new project, Facebook might face legal issues because in most countries like the US, childrens’ data is protected by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. This would restrict companies from using and sharing data of children to third parties without parental consent. Messenger for Kids, has claimed that the company doesn’t sell user data with third parties, yet kids still receive targeted ads while using the application.