It is important to us to protect young people on Instagram. As part of our continuing efforts to keep our youngest community members secure, we’re sharing information on new functionality and services today. We’ll also have an update on our efforts to better understand the age in order to keep people healthy, including young people. We have dedicated staff focusing on child protection, and we consult experts to help us improve functionality.
1. Fresh services to assist parents and teenagers
We want parents to have the resources they need to help their children have a fun and healthy Instagram experience. In the United States, we’ve published a new Parents Guide in collaboration with The Child Mind Institute and ConnectSafely. It provides the most up-to-date protection resources and privacy settings, as well as a list of tips and dialogue starters to assist parents in having productive conversations with their teenagers about their online presence. This revised Guide has been released in other countries with expert collaborators, including Argentina, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, which Singapore, and will be expanded in the near future. This further adds to our already existing life.
“Instagram will help young people build their bonds, learn social skills, and engage with welcoming groups. Parents and teenagers must have access to knowledge on how to handle their time on the platform in a thoughtful, safe, and deliberate manner. The new Parents Guide on which we partnered does an outstanding job of distilling what parents can know about helping their teenagers as they explore social media.” – Dr. Dave Anderson, Clinical Psychologist, Child Mind Institute
2. Improving our job to better grasp people’s true ages
To use Instagram, you must be at least 13 years old, and we’ve asked new users to provide their age when they sign up for an account. Although many people are truthful about their age, we all know that teenagers will lie about their birth date. We want to do more to discourage this, but checking people’s ages online is complicated, and those in our business are struggling with it.
To fix this problem, we’re developing advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to assist us in keeping teens healthy and implementing new age-appropriate features, such as the ones mentioned below.
3. Restricting DMs between teens and adults they don’t follow
We’re launching a new feature that prohibits adults from sending messages to users under the age of 18 who don’t follow them, to shield teenagers from inappropriate adult communication. When an adult attempts to contact a teen who doesn’t follow them, for example, they’re told that DMing them isn’t possible. This functionality is focused on our experience with machine learning algorithms to forecast people’s ages, as well as the age people send us when they sign up. We’re investing in features that secure privacy and keep users secure without having access to the content of DMs as we transition to end-to-end encryption.
“Many social media sites demand a minimum age of 13 years around the world, but age verification remains a long-standing, industry-wide issue. That’s why it’s encouraging to see Instagram invest in cutting-edge technology that can and can make the internet a better place for kids. Instagram is equipping young people with opportunities to be the builders of their own online experience by leveraging machine learning to flag potentially unsafe experiences, optimizing teen privacy capabilities, and DM-ing younger users with real-time safety information.”- Lucy Thomas, Co-Founder / Co-CEO, PROJECT ROCKIT
4. Encourage teenagers to be more careful about their DM relationships
We’ll start using reminders — or protection notices — to enable teenagers to be careful in discussions with adults they’re already linked to, in addition to avoiding conversations between adults and teens that don’t follow one another. When an adult who has been displaying potentially suspicious behavior interacts with young people in DMs, safety notes may appear. If an adult sends a significant number of friend or contact requests to users under the age of 18, for example, we’ll use this method to notify the recipients in their DMs and give them the option to stop the chat, block, report, or limit the adult. This month, people will begin to see these in a few countries, and we expect to make them accessible everywhere shortly.
5. Adults will have a harder time finding and following teenagers
We’ll start looking at ways to make it more difficult for adults who have been involved in highly suspicious activity to communicate with adolescents in the coming weeks. This may include blocking these adults from seeing teen profiles in ‘Suggested Users,’ preventing them from finding teen content in Reels or Explore, and immediately deleting teen content from Reels and Explore.
6. Advising teenagers to keep their accounts private
Teens profit from having a private account so they can help monitor who can access and communicate with their posts. When anyone under the age of 18 signs up for an Instagram account, we’ve recently introduced a new step that allows them to choose from a public or private account. Our mission is to inspire young people to select a private account by presenting them with information about the various settings.
We recognize that public accounts are important to young people, such as aspiring designers or athletes. So, after learning all about the choices, teenagers can also choose to use a public account. If the teen does not choose “online” when creating an account, we will give them a message later informing them of the advantages of having a private account and advising them to review their settings. This is only the beginning. Additional safeguards, such as additional privacy settings, are being considered to shield young people on Instagram. In the coming months, we’ll have plenty to report.