Plans to make an “Instagram experience” for under-13s, dubbed Instagram Kids, have been paused.
Facebook would use the time to listen to “parents, experts, policymakers and regulators”, Instagram head Adam Mosseri wrote.
It follows leaked internal research the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said Instagram was “toxic for teen girls”.
But in a recent blog, Facebook head of research Pratiti Raychoudhury called this allegation “simply not accurate”.
Instagram requires users to be at least 13 before they create an account – but many children under that age use the platform anyway.
And the company previously told BBC News Instagram Kids would be a “practical solution to the ongoing industry problem of kids lying about their age to access apps” and enable children to connect with family and friends in an “age appropriate way”.
But in April, a letter from the Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood, signed by 99 groups and individuals, claimed the “image-obsessed” platform was dangerous for children’s health and privacy and called for the project to be scrapped.
In the new blog post, Mr Mosseri said he still believed it was better to have a version of Instagram for 10-12-year-olds, rather “than relying on an app’s ability to verify the age of kids who are too young to have an ID”.
While the project is paused, Instagram will expand its work on new opt-in parental supervision tools, to cover 13-19-year-olds currently on Instagram.
But technology news site The Verge said Facebook’s response “ignores many of the issues raised in the WSJ piece, including that teens claimed they felt addicted to Instagram”.