Meta has announced a set of new safety and security measures to protect teens on its platforms—including Instagram and Facebook. The new updates, according to Meta, will further protect younger users from being potentially exposed to predators, and other harmful behaviors on its apps.
Going forward, every user under 16 or under 18 in certain countries will by default be moved to more private settings when they join Facebook. The company said it is working on new tools and education to stop the spread of self-generated intimate images online.
“Today, we’re sharing an update on how we protect young people from harm and seek to create safe, age-appropriate experiences for teens on Facebook and Instagram,” Meta said on its page.
Limiting unwanted interactions
Meta is now testing new ways to protect teens from messaging suspicious adults they have no connection with. It adds that such interactions or adults will not show on the Teens’ People You May Know recommendations.
Any account that belongs to an adult that may have recently been blocked or reported by a young person will be categorized as “suspicious,” and may not show up on the Teens’ People You May Know recommendations.
“As an extra layer of protection, we’re also testing removing the message button on teens’ Instagram accounts when they’re viewed by suspicious adults altogether.”
Encouraging teens to use Meta safety tools
To make teens more comfortable and safe using Facebook and Instagram online, the company said it has developed more tools. Meta is introducing new notifications to encourage the use of these tools by teens.
For example, Meta said it has started prompting teens to report accounts to it after such has already been blocked, and sending them safety notices with information on how to navigate inappropriate messages from adults.
“In just one month in 2021, more than 100 million people saw safety notices on Messenger. We’ve also made it easier for people to find our reporting tools and, as a result, we saw more than a 70% increase in reports sent to us by minors in Q1 2022 versus the previous quarter on Messenger and Instagram DMs.”
Stopping teens’ intimate images
Meta says it is developing ways to stop the spread of teens’ intimate privacy online. The company said it is already working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to build a global platform for teens who are worried intimate images they created might be shared on the platform without their consent.