Facing intense scrutiny over harming young kids' mental health, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri has defended the platform's impacts on teens, saying that the photo-sharing platform "quite frankly wasn't designed" for people between the ages of 13 and 17.
Testifying for the first time at a US Senate hearing in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday after leaked internal research at Meta showed that the photo-sharing app could harm its young users, Mosseri said that "respectfully, I don't believe that research suggests that our products are addictive".
"We know that 10 to 12-year-olds are online. We know that they want to be on platforms like Instagram. And Instagram quite frankly wasn't designed for them," he said during the hearing.
Mosseri also proposed a new "industry body that would create tech-wise best practices on issues like age verification, parental controls and product design for kids and teens, reports TechCrunch.
Meta, which owns Instagram, has been grilled recently after a leak exposed how Instagram's own research had found the platform could harm children's well-being.
A global coalition of researchers has called on Meta to be more transparent and serious about the mental health of child and adolescent users on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, as debate rises over the harmful impact these platforms have on the minds of children.
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen had testified before the US Congress that Instagram can have a negative effect on the mental health of teenagers.
Hammered by the chain of events, the Meta-owned photo-sharing platform this week launched a 'Take a Break' and other safety features for teenagers.
Prior to Mosseri's testimony, Facebook's Global Head of Safety Antigone Davis also appeared before the Senate subcommittee to address teen safety concerns. "We have put in place multiple protections to create safe and age-appropriate experiences for people between the ages of 13 and 17," Davis argued.
In late September, Mosseri had announced that Instagram would pause its plans to develop Instagram Kids, a version of the app specifically for children under 13.
(With inputs from IANS)