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Facebook Recruited Researchers For Products For Kids As Young As 6

Published 7 months ago
By Forbes

TOPLINE Facebook made an internal post in April for multiple jobs tasked with making new products for children as young as six years old in an aim to attract more users to its platforms, NBC News first reported Friday.

KEY FACTS

The internal post says that Facebook historically did not have products designed for consumers under 13 years old, except Messenger Kids, according to a document obtained by Forbes as part of a consortium of news organizations reporting on leaked internal Facebook files.

Bold letters at the top of the post read, “The internet wasn’t built with young people in mind, but we’re about to change that.”

The post describes openings for three roles, including “strategists on the experiences” of “Kids (6-9), Tweens (10-12), Early Teens (13-15), Late Teens (16+) that includes net new products” and reshape existing ones.

Four of the seven “research partners” and hiring managers the post said would have more information about the jobs were working for Instagram.

A spokesperson for Meta — the new name for the company — told Forbes the age brackets are from a regulatory framework set by the U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s office and “don’t represent Facebook’s product plans”— but it wasn’t immediately clear why it had used the U.K.’s guidelines. 

The spokesperson added the company is currently hiring for the roles that will “largely focus on new features we’re building for teens (13-17) and parents.”

KEY BACKGROUND

Other openings looked for researchers to focus on understanding “what roles digital experiences” are having on caregiving for children. Still others sought researchers who could collaborate with experts in the policy, legal and communications fields to understand “the needs and challenges of upcoming and current generations,” according to the post. The revelations come from documents provided by Facebook whistle-blower Frances Haugen to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which were also provided to Congress in redacted form by her legal team. The redacted versions received by Congress were obtained by a consortium of news organizations, including Forbes, a collection of documents popularly known as the Facebook Papers.

TANGENT

In late September, Facebook paused the development of an Instagram for kids under 13 years old, also known as “Instagram Kids,” following the Wall Street Journal’s bombshell reports that Facebook knew Instagram was “toxic” for teen girls. Instagram head Adam Mosseri said in a blog post that Facebook will “use this time to work with parents, experts and policymakers to demonstrate the value and need for this product.”

by Lisa Kim, Forbes Staff

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