Instagram has announced some new measures to help protect teen users, including expanded content restrictions relating to self-harm, new prompts to revert to more private experiences, and other advanced actions.
First off, IG says that it’s taking more action to limit exposure to self-harm related content, based on the negative impacts that it can have on young users.
As per Instagram:
“Take the example of someone posting about their ongoing struggle with thoughts of self-harm. This is an important story, and can help destigmatize these issues, but it’s a complex topic and isn’t necessarily suitable for all young people. Now, we’ll start to remove this type of content from teens’ experiences on Instagram and Facebook, as well as other types of age-inappropriate content.”
Instagram says that it already limits teens from accessing some related recommendations of self-harm material within Reels and Explore. Now, it’ll also expand the same to Feed and Stories as well, even when that content has been posted by a profile that they follow.
The expanded restrictions are based on advice from child and adolescent health experts, who’ve raised concerns about the rate of exposure in the app, and the impacts of such on vulnerable users.
This new process will offer more protection, while also still enabling Meta to offer links to relevant assistance groups where possible.
On that front, Instagram will also now redirect users to official help services when they search for terms related to suicide, self-harm, and eating disorders, while also hiding specific search results.
In addition, Meta will also now opt all teen users into its most restrictive content settings, on both Facebook and Instagram.
New teen users are already opted into the most restrictive settings when they sign up to the app, but now, Meta will expand the same to all teens active across its platforms.
“Our content recommendation controls – known as “Sensitive Content Control” on Instagram and “Reduce” on Facebook – make it more difficult for people to come across potentially sensitive content or accounts in places like Search and Explore.”
Finally, Instagram’s sending out new notifications to all teen users, encouraging them to update their settings to a more private experience.
Meta continues to add more safety resources to protect teen users, which will become even more important in the metaverse future, where youngsters will be able to access even more immersive experiences.
As such, Meta’s keen to ensure that it’s working with expert partners to develop its systems ahead of time, which will not only ensure optimal protections, but will also help Meta show regulators that it can be trusted with such responsibility.
You can read more about Meta’s latest teen safety updates here.