Instagram Introduces New Privacy Changes to Protect Teenagers

Instagram is set to introduce new privacy changes to protect teenagers on its platform. The new safety settings will set accounts to private for kids who are under 16. 

Besides, Instagram will also prevent some adults from interacting with teenagers, and control how advertisers target teenagers. 

Why did Instagram Add New Privacy Settings?

These changes arrive amidst consistent pressure from parents, child-safety advocates, regulators, and lawmakers who are concerned about the impact of social media on a child’s mental health, privacy, and safety. 

Karina Newton, Head of Public Policy, Instagram, said that there is no formula that teaches people or makes them more aware of how to use the internet. 

She added that these changes are aimed toward creating age-appropriate experiences and helping teenagers use social media platforms without compromising on their safety. 

Due to federal privacy law, Instagram does not allow kids under 13 on its platform. However, some critics say this law does not protect older teens and leaves them vulnerable. 

SEE ALSO: Why is Facebook Tweaking its Community Standards? Find Out How It Will Provide Clarity on Satirical Content

So, What Changes?

From this week onward, the accounts of teenagers under 16 will be made private by default. This means that their posts will be visible to only those people who follow them. 

In addition, kids who have an active public Instagram account will now get notifications about the advantages of having a private account. According to Instagram, during the test phase, they found that around 80% of kids are in favor of keeping the private setting while signing up. 

Besides these changes, Instagram is working toward features that prevent “unwanted contact from adults”

According to the company, adults who have exhibited suspicious behavior which includes being frequently reported and blocked by young people will not be able to interact and follow teens freely. 

For example, such accounts will not see any recommendations from teenage accounts in the Reels and Explore section of the app. If red-flagged accounts lookup for particular teen accounts, they will not be able to follow them. 

These changes are building on the foundation set by Instagram in March this year when it enforced a ban on adults from sending direct messages to teenagers who do not follow them. 

What does this mean for advertisers?

Apart from changing its stance on teenage safety and privacy, Facebook is also tweaking things up for advertisers. Now, advertisers on Instagram will be able to target individuals under 18 with ads based on their age, location, gender only. 

This means that Instagram cannot track other information as user habits or interests on applications and share this data with advertisers. 

Will these changes create a safe social media ecosystem for teenagers? Are they enough to keep suspicious accounts at bay? 

Leave your comments below and tell us what you think! 

SEE ALSO: Facebook Introduces “Soundmoji”, a New Sound Emoji Messenger Feature

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