Facebook: This Friday (29), NBC News presented internal Facebook documents that showed that the company was hiring employees to develop products targeted at children as young as six years old, with a view to expanding its user base. The documents were delivered to the congress by former employee Frances Haugen.
In a post on the company’s internal blog, published on April 9 of this year, the author (as yet unknown) said that most internet products were not designed for children under 13 years old. Therefore, Facebook is said to be making a big investment in youth and has formed a corporate virtual team to make the experience safer and more private, for the well-being of the children and their families.
The publication also presents diagrams that illustrate the proposed new target age groups, with a group of children aged 6 to 9 years old, adolescents aged 10 to 12, another aged 13 to 15 and finally a group for young people aged 16 to 17 years — in addition to the adult audience that already consumes content on the conglomerate’s social networks.
“These five age groups can be used to define education, transparency, controls and standards that will meet the needs of young users,” the official wrote in the post.
Facebook and mental health
After research proves that Instagram is harmful to the mental health of teenage girls, critics of Facebook point out that the documents only demonstrate a standard of the company, which tries to attract young users as soon as possible.
James Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense Media — a nonprofit that researches children’s relationship with the digital world — said Facebook needs to focus on cleaning up its existing platforms before trying to trap more kids in its addictive networks.
In response to The Wall Street Journal’s coverage of Facebook striving to attract younger generations, the company responded that it is due to high competition in the market. It also criticized the newspaper by saying that, since its competitors are doing the same thing, it would be interesting for them if Facebook did not do this work.