In its blog post, Facebook-owned Instagram announced updates to its platform that concern younger social network's users. Starting from July 28, Instagram will strengthen the protection of teenagers' accounts by making new accounts of users under the age of 16 (18 years old for some countries) private by default. This means that only those approved by the account owner will be able to view teens' photos and other content. Facebook says that this way, 80% of accounts of young Instagram users will become private.
At the same time, Instagram will show existing users notifications about the benefits of having a private account as well as share detailed guides on how to make their profiles private. Despite the new rules, teens will still be able to set their profile to public through the settings – the corresponding option will still be available for them.
The social media platform says the new rules will protect teens from unwanted comments from suspicious adult users as well as protect them from harassment and bullying. Instagram introduced such changes after years of criticism from users.
Facebook also said it is working on a new technology that will prevent accounts with potentially suspicious behavior from interacting with people under the age of 18 or viewing their profiles on Instagram. Those adult users who will receive complaints from minors will no longer be able to access teens' accounts on Instagram at all. The new technologies will detect potentially suspicious users and prevent them from interacting with children's accounts.
The company also promises to change its advertising policy to reduce the amount of hyper-targeted advertising to teens. The new restriction related to teens' safety will affect the advertisers' ability to show ads to minors based on their interests or the websites they are viewing. Only age, gender, and geolocation of teens will be available for targeting.
In January, TikTok also tightened its privacy and safety rules for teens. The profiles of teens between the ages of 13 and 15 automatically became private. This means that only those whom teenagers add to their list of followers can view the videos of such users.