A redesign of the app from last year has been completed and social network company wants users to decide in April
Facebook is delaying an Instagram app for users under the age of 13.
During its earnings call Thursday, Facebook CFO David Wehner said: “We have redesigned our messaging app internally for teens. It’s going to go out to them in April for most kids under 13.”
The app redesign from last year was first reported by TechCrunch last December. It would include a “secret message” function, a screenshot notification system and a “block notifications” function.
The issue of whether Facebook allows pre-teens to be on its site has been controversial ever since 2013 when the news site News21 reported that two Chicago-area teenagers, aged 13 and 14, had been allowed to connect to adult accounts. Facebook was not among several sites allegedly caught up in the scheme. At the time, a Facebook spokesman said that as of that point it had “no evidence that this activity is happening in our community, and we will investigate”.
Facebook officially banned pre-teens from its site in 2014, but many teens had already been using the site.
The new Instagram app for teens will compete with Snapchat’s Stories format. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
This move would set Instagram apart from the stock messaging apps, including Snapchat and Facebook Messenger.
Mashable reported in 2016 that about one in five teenagers aged 13 to 18 used Facebook to use private messaging, but many users of private messaging apps used them for free, private conversations, while others paid to use apps, like WhatsApp.
“Facebook admitted it has very little interest in developing WhatsApp-style messaging,” Mashable wrote.