In a blog post published Wednesday, Meta has called for federal legislation to force app stores rather than social media companies to get parents' approval whenever a child between the ages of 13 and 16 downloads an app.
According to Meta's global head of safety, Antigone Davis, the law would make it mandatory for app stores to notify parents when their teens want to download an app, similar to how parents are alerted when their children attempt to make an in-app purchase.
Meta has intentionally worked to attract younger users — so far as introducing harmful features on Instagram and Facebook that addict teens and compromise their mental health — as it competes with rival apps such as Snapchat and TikTok. The tech giant needs to do more — like devote adequate resources and staff to safeguarding its most vulnerable users — to protect teens using its platforms rather than pass the buck to parents and app stores.
While implementing tighter controls and processes to stop teens from downloading apps without a parent's approval isn't a foolproof plan, it may be time that the app stores used their gatekeeping power for a broader purpose. Placing the responsibility for parental controls on app stores could add another level of protection, which could facilitate more security and help preserve potentially sensitive identifying information.
There's a 4% chance that Meta Platforms (Facebook) will sell Instagram or WhatsApp before 2025, according to the Metaculus prediction community.