Entertainment

Meta’s head of ‘youth product’ leaves the company after ‘internal restructuring’ 


A Meta vice president who led the company’s youth product initiatives, including a proposed kids’ version of Instagram, has decided to leave the Facebook parent company after ‘internal restructuring.’ 

Pavni Diwanji, who joined Meta in 2020, has ‘decided to move on’ from the company, said Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri in an internal memo obtained by The New York Times on Wednesday.  

The most notable project Diwanji worked on was Instagram Kids – a version of the app for those under 13 which would feature optional parental controls. But that project was ultimately put on hold following revelations that the social media giant’s own research found that the app made teenage girls feel worse about their body image. 

Mosseri announced the company’s decision to halt the controversial project back in September 2021 when the Wall Street Journal printed internal data from Facebook that the social media platform was having adverse effects on its young users. 

Pavni Diwanji, who joined Meta in 2020, has ‘decided to move on’ from the company, according to an internal memo. She worked on was Instagram Kids – a version of the app for those under 13 which would feature optional parental controls – that has halted

Meta put a stop to its Instagram Kids app following reports that the social media platform was well aware of the harmful effects Instagram was having on teens

Meta put a stop to its Instagram Kids app following reports that the social media platform was well aware of the harmful effects Instagram was having on teens

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri testified before Congress in December regarding what the company knew about its effects on teens. His internal memo revealed Diwanji's departing

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri testified before Congress in December regarding what the company knew about its effects on teens. His internal memo revealed Diwanji’s departing

PAVNI DIWANJI STEPS DOWN FROM META AFTER ONLY A YEAR 

Pavni Diwanji, of Mountain View, California, has stepped down as a Vice President at Meta after only a year in the position. 

The Stanford University graduate, previously worked as a senior vice president at Intuit, a major financial software company. 

Before that, she was a vice president at Google, where she worked for 14 years. 

One of her major projects at Google was the launch of YouTube Kids, a more family-friendly version of the app that features parental controls among other tools to allow safe streaming for kids. 

She also led the company’s spam fighting efforts and worked on the Google+ project.  

Instagram continued to add beauty-editing filters to the app, despite 6 per cent of suicidal girls in America blaming it for their desire to kill themselves, the documents stated.

A leaked slide from an internal presentation in March 2020 also said: ‘Thirty-two percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse.’ 

Concerns about Instagram Kids were raised earlier last year in May, when a bipartisan group of 44 attorney generals wrote a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg urging him to drop it.

Their letter warned Instagram Kids could increase cyberbullying, leave children vulnerable to online predators, and perpetuate what they called Facebook’s ‘checkered record’ in not protecting the privacy of children on its platforms.

Mosseri defended the project and had said the kids version of the app would curb the bullying that already takes place in the regular version. 

He added that Pavni, who had previously supervised the YouTube Kids program at Google, had done a great job to prepare program’s for kids. 

‘Pavni has been a tremendous champion for her teams and drive for this cross-company effort,’ Mr. Mosseri wrote in his note obtained by the New York Times.

Diwanji could not be immediately reached for comment. 

She is the third high-profile person in Meta to announce their leave this year amid the company’s restructuring. 

Board member Peter Thiel, a conservative tech mogul and co-found of Pay-Pal, announced in December that he plans to leave Meta this May. 

Meta’s Messenger app boss Stan Chudnovsky, also announced in December that he was also stepping down in 2022. 

John Pinette, who was the head of communications, left the company in January. 

Last year, David Marcus, Meta’s head of cryptocurrency, resigned after the company’s failed bid to launch its own cryptocurrency for Facebook.   

Before working at Meta, Diwanji led Google's YouTube Kids project, a more family-friendly version of the app that features parental controls

Before working at Meta, Diwanji led Google’s YouTube Kids project, a more family-friendly version of the app that features parental controls

Despite Diwanji’s departure, Stephanie Otway, a Meta spokesperson, said in a statement that the company was still ‘developing safe, age-appropriate experiences for teens.’

Mosseri will continue to serve as the head of Meta’s youth effort, which the company said remains ‘an important priority.’ 

In Wednesday memo, Mosseri wrote: ‘I know the teams have worked hard to ensure that youth is a key consideration in product development across the company — including in VR and Messenger — and I’ll continue to be an advocate for collaboration and coordination here.’ 

Mosseri had testified before Congress in December to discuss the leaked documents and how Instagram would tighten its protection for teens. 

He said Instagram was exploring controls to limit potentially harmful or sensitive material suggested to teens through its search function, hashtags, short-form video Reels and its ‘Suggested Accounts’ feature, as well as on its curated ‘Explore’ page.

Instagram also launched a ‘Take a Break’ campaign in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, which reminds people to take a brief pause from the app after using it for a certain amount of time.

This year, the company is also set to launch its first tools for parents and guardians to see how much time their teens spend on the app and set time limits.

THE DATA FACEBOOK WAS SHOWN ON HOW INSTAGRAM HARMED YOUNG GIRLS AND BOYS 

Question of the things you’ve felt in the last month, did any of them start on Instagram? Select all that apply

Not attractive

41% (US)

43% (UK)

 Don’t have enough money

42% (US)

42% (UK)

 Don’t have enough friends

32% (US)

33% (UK)

 Down, sad or depressed

10% (US)

13% (UK)

 Wanted to kill themselves

6% (US)

13% (UK)

 Wanted to hurt themselves

9% (US)

7% (UK)

Question: In general, how has Instagram affected the way you feel about yourself, your mental health? 

Much worse

US boys and girls: 3%

US boys: 2%

US girls: 3% 

UK total: 2%

UK boys: 1%

UK girls: 2% 

 Somewhat worse

US total: 16%

US Boys 12%

US girls: 18% 

 UK total: 19%

UK boys: 13%

UK girls: 23%

 No effect

US total: 41%

US boys: 37%

US girls: 43%

UK total: 46%

UK boys: 50%

UK girls: 44% 

 Somewhat better

US total: 29%

US boys: 32%

US girls: 29% 

UK total: 28%

UK boys: 31%

UK girls: 26%

 Much better

US total: 12%

US boys: 18%

US girls 8%

UK total: 5%

UK boys: 5%

UK girls: 4%

 



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