Facebook has announced it will make new Instagram accounts for teens under 16 private by default.
Social media companies are under increased pressure to do more to protect their youngest users. Numerous studies have shown the detrimental impact social media can have on young ones, and that’s without the threat of predators using such platforms to find victims.
Facebook is trying to offer an additional layer of protection, following research showing most teens under 16 actually prefer their accounts to be private.
Wherever we can, we want to stop young people from hearing from adults they don’t know or don’t want to hear from. We believe private accounts are the best way to prevent this from happening. So starting this week, everyone who is under 16 years old (or under 18 in certain countries) will be defaulted into a private account when they join Instagram.
The move is already being welcomed by experts in the industry.
“These new updates represent important progress towards creating a safer, more private experience for young people on Instagram,” said Larry Magid, CEO, ConnectSafely. “In particular, using machine learning to understand when it might not be appropriate for an adult to interact with a teen puts teens in the driver’s seat as far as who they interact with, and defaulting teens under 16 into private accounts helps young people keep their content less visible to adults.”
The company says it won’t force existing accounts for teens under 16 to go private, but will display a notification informing them of the benefits.