YouTube Chief Executive Officer Susan Wojcicki said their platform is beneficial to adolescent mental health. This comes amid growing concern that their rival Instagram may be “toxic” for teenage girls. The claims against the social networking site were made by the Wall Street Journal. After this, many US lawmakers put pressure on Instagram to abandon its app for kids. On Monday, the company released a blog post announcing that it was putting a hold on “Instagram kids.”
“We certainly do see for a lot of really tough issues that YouTube can be a really valuable resource. So body positivity, mental health, we see a lot of creators actually talk about mental health and that, for a lot of kids, really it destigmatizes, and enables people to talk about what’s happening and what’s going on with them. So we do take it very seriously.”Susan Wojcicki said in a Bloomberg Television interview.
This marks the first time the YouTube CEO has commented on the allegations made by WSJ on its rival Facebook. The publication claimed that Facebook knew about the harmful effects of Instagram on teenage girls but didn’t do anything. Facebook has denied these reports, claiming they are “simply not accurate.“
Instagram for Kids
After some external pressure and heavy criticism, the company has decided to put a hold on Instagram for kids. Instagram said in a blog post that building Instagram Kids was the right thing to do, but that it was pausing the work and would continue building on its parental supervision tools. The company also noted that kids were already online, and there were app versions of Google’s YouTube and ByteDance’s TikTok for those under 13.
YouTube is also not clear of such controversies themselves. In 2019, the company was fined $170 million for violating children’s privacy by tracking them across the web. They were also criticized for allowing kids to access content suitable for adults. Wojcicki said the company has worked to address these issues.