What in the World—Week of September 27

Facebook pausing ‘Instagram Kids’
Facebook is putting its planned “Instagram Kids” on hold. The move comes shortly after a series of critical articles in The Wall Street Journal about the damage being caused by the company, including how Instagram was causing anxiety and mental health problems, particularly among teen girls. Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri announced the news in a blog post and a series of tweets Monday morning. “We’re pausing ‘Instagram Kids,’ although we believe building it is the right thing to do,” he said. The possibility of an Instagram for young kids drew plenty of criticism earlier this year, including a signed letter from 44 U.S. attorneys general asking Facebook to abandon the plan. “Critics of ‘Instagram Kids’ will see this as an acknowledgement that the project is a bad idea,” wrote Mosseri. “That’s not the case. The reality is that kids are already online, and we believe that developing age-appropriate experiences designed specifically for them is far better for parents than where we are today.” Meanwhile…

China limits social media use for kids
China will limit use of the country’s TikTok equivalent, Douyin, to just 40 minutes per day and only between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. According to a report from the U.K.’s Independent, ByteDance, the parent company of both TikTok and Douyin, also said “youth mode” will only show “prepared” content, such as historical information, exhibitions, scenery, and science experiments.” The company said it is being strict with teenage users, but “will work harder to provide quality content so that young people can learn and see the world.” China also recently imposed similar restrictions on video game time for those under 18, calling the games “opium for the mind” and “electronic drugs.”

Spotify wants to attract advertisers
With its podcast listenership set to overtake Apple’s, Spotify has launched a new campaign appealing directly to advertisers, according to The Wall Street Journal. Created by FCB New York, the campaign uses images of people walking or floating around in bubbles, accompanied by the message “Reach the most immersed audience.” The ads are running across digital video, social media and audio (both on and off Spotify) in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, Spain and New Zealand. The streaming service has also changed the name of its ad business to Spotify Advertising from Spotify for Brands as it looks to broaden its appeal among small- and medium-size businesses. It is also wooing podcast publishers and creators to the marketplace after saying that its ad growth has been restricted by limited inventory. Advertising represented 12% of Spotify’s Q2 revenue, up from 7% last year.

Google gets into chips (of the potato and tech variety)
Google launched a line of potato chips called Google Original Chips to promote its new Pixel 6 phone. The phones feature the new Tensor SoC, the company’s first consumer system on a chip (SoC). Created entirely in-house, the potato chips all come in “Googley Salty Flavour,” although the packaging mimics the colour schemes for line of Pixel 6 phones. The tech giant gave away 10,000 samples of the free chips, and made a video showing people treating the bags as if they were a phone—holding them up to take selfies, for example, or using them to listen to music.

Cliff Freeman dies at 80
New York adman Cliff Freeman, who gave the world “Where’s the beef?” for Wendy’s and other iconic ad slogans including “Sometimes you feel like a nut /sometimes you don’t” (for Mounds and Almond Joy) and voiced the toga-clad Roman for Little Caesar’s “Pizza pizza,” died earlier this month at the age of 80. The cause of death was pneumonia, said The New York Times. Freeman’s career spanned nearly 40 years, first with Dancer Fitzgerald Sample (which was merged into the Saatchi & Saatchi network) and later with his own agency, Cliff Freeman & Partners.

David Brown