The Wall Street Journal has been reporting on Facebook’s vile approach to target young children in an investigative series titled “The Facebook Files.” Much of the information comes from unearthing internal documents that have been obtained by the Journal.
In the latest report published Tuesday, WSJ reveals Facebook’s documents refer to children as “untapped” wealth. Gizmodo reports:
Internal documents obtained by the Journal now reveal that Facebook formed a special team to study children and ponder ways in which they could be monetized. One such document is said to refer to children between the ages of 10 and 12 (“tweens”) as a “valuable but untapped audience.” Another suggests “leveraging playdates” as means to drive Facebook’s “growth.”
Another document cited by the paper, dated March 2021, notes that Facebook is struggling with “global teen penetration” and warns that “acquisition” of teen users “appears to be slowing down.” Internally, Facebook expects its teenaged audience to plummet by an additional 45% by 2023, according to the Journal.
“Imagine a Facebook experience designed for youth” one document says citing that children are “getting on the internet as young as six years old.” Gizmodo writes that “while federal law prohibits the harvesting of data belonging to children under the age of 13, Facebook has spent years searching for a way to convince children to adopt its services as soon as they’re old enough to be tracked.”
The WSJ previously reported Facebook’s effort to launch an “Instagram Kids” app despite its own internal research showing Instagram has negative impacts on the mental health of teenagers and younger children.
The research explicitly stated, “we make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls.” The Journal’s exposure of the company’s research led lawmakers to call on CEO Mark Zuckerberg to end the Instagram Kids project. On Monday of this week, Instagram’s Adam Mosseri told the Today Show plans for the project were being postponed.
“I still firmly believe that it’s a good thing to build a version of Instagram that’s safe for tweens, but we want to take the time to talk to parents and researchers and safety experts and get to more consensus about how to move forward” said Mosseri.