Vishal Shah, Instagram's vice president of product, reportedly made the announcement on a company message board last week.
"I'm excited to announce that going forward, we have identified youth work as a priority for Instagram and have added it to our H1 priority list," Shah wrote. "We will be building a new youth pillar within the Community Product Group to focus on two things: (a) accelerating our integrity and privacy work to ensure the safest possible experience for teens and (b) building a version of Instagram that allows people under the age of 13 to safely use Instagram for the first time."
Instagram is currently only available to teens ages 13 and older, and many parents have struggled to protect their kids from bullying from peers and predatory behavior from adults. Instagram has addressed the safety and privacy issues by introducing new features over time, but it's still a problem, according to parent advocacy groups. So, allowing younger kids to have access to the issues that are so troubling for teenagers, and even grown ups, seems to be a dangerous move.
Facebook did, however, confirm to Mashable in an email that a kids version of Instagram would be a parent-controlled experience.
"Increasingly kids are asking their parents if they can join apps that help them keep up with their friends," a Facebook company spokesperson wrote. "Right now there aren't many options for parents, so we're working on building additional products — like we did with Messenger Kids — that are suitable for kids, managed by parents. We're exploring bringing a parent-controlled experience to Instagram to help kids keep up with their friends, discover new hobbies and interests, and more."
Advertisers have to follow strict guidelines when it comes to kids' data, so social networks for kids tend to be less about ads at least. But it's clear that Facebook wants to win over the under 13 crowd before they're old enough to realize that Instagram is lame.