Instagram has announced new features to offer teens a safer environment on the social media platform. In a blog post, the Facebook-owned company has revealed four new features that limit the ability of most of the adults on the platform to discover teens or interact with them. The company will now require users to provide their age when they sign up for an account.
“While many people are honest about their age, we know that young people can lie about their date of birth. We want to do more to stop this from happening, but verifying people’s age online is complex and something many in our industry are grappling with. To address this challenge, we’re developing new artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to help us keep teens safer and apply new age-appropriate features,” Instagram said.
Here’s a look at some of the new features that Instagram is all set to add to its platform.
Restricting DMs between teens and adults
Instagram has added a new feature that prevents adults from sending messages to people under 18 who don’t follow them. So, if adults try to message a teen who doesn’t follow them, they will get a notification that sending them a Direct Message (DM) is not an option.
“This feature relies on our work to predict peoples’ ages using machine learning technology, and the age people give us when they sign up. As we move to end-to-end encryption, we’re investing in features that protect the privacy and keep people safe without accessing the content of DMs,” Instagram said.
Prompting teens to be more cautious
Instagram will also start sending safety notices alerting teens to be cautious in conversations with adults they’re already connected to. The social media platform will send Safety notices in DMs notifying youngsters when an adult who has been exhibiting potentially suspicious behaviour is interacting with them in DMs.
Instagram explains this with an example. “If an adult is sending a large amount of friend or message requests to people under 18, we’ll use this tool to alert the recipients within their DMs and give them an option to end the conversation, or block, report, or restrict the adult. People will start seeing these in some countries this month, and we hope to have them available everywhere soon.”
Making it difficult for adults to find teens
Instagram will restrict some of the adults from seeing teen accounts in ‘Suggested Users.’ The company says that the adults who have been exhibiting potentially suspicious behaviour won’t be able to discover teen content in Reels or Explore, and the comments section will automatically be hidden.
Encouraging teens to use private accounts
Instagram has asserted that it will encourage teens to have a private account on Instagram to be safer on the social media platform. The company is saying that if the teen doesn’t choose ‘private’ when signing up, they will then send a notification highlighting the benefits of a private account and reminding them to check their settings.
This doesn’t mean teens won’t get the option to choose public account. Instagram explains that a private account offers users more protections as they can better control who can see and interact with their content.
“This is just the first step. We’re assessing additional measures we can take to protect young people on Instagram, including additional privacy settings. We’ll have more to share in the coming months,” Instagram said.