Yesterday, Monday, Meta announced new updates to protect teenagers on the Facebook and Instagram platforms, in what appears to be a new effort to attract this category of users that it has lost to other platforms, such as TikTok.
“Today we’re sharing an update on what we’re doing to protect young people from harm, and what we’re doing to create a safe, teen-friendly experience on Facebook and Instagram,” the US tech giant said in a post on its blog.
In the post, Meta referred to measures she announced last year to protect teens from interacting with suspicious adults. For example, Meta prevents adults from messaging teens they aren’t related to, or whom they see in People You May Know recommendations.
In addition to its current procedures, Meta has begun testing ways to protect teens from messaging suspicious adults with whom they have no connection and has stated that it will no longer feature them in the “People You May Know” recommendations shown to teens.
And Meta indicated that the “suspicious” account is the account that belongs to an adult who was blocked or recently reported by a teenager. To further protect teens, the company is also testing removing the button that allows teens to message suspicious adults on Instagram.
The company said that it has developed a number of tools through which it allows teenagers to report what is bothering them while using its applications, and it will show them notifications that encourage them to use these tools. These tools include enabling teens to report accounts they block and providing them with safety notices with information on how to deal with inappropriate messages from adults.
Meta indicated that last year it made it easier for users to find reporting tools, which resulted in an increase in the number of DMs notifications on Messenger and Instagram services, by 70 percent during the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same period in the previous year.
Meta said that starting today, the settings for users under the age of 16 (or 18 in some countries) who join Facebook will be more private by default, and it will also encourage existing teenage users to choose the most private settings, which determine who can see their friends list, who can see the people, Pages, and lists they follow, who can see posts they are tagged in on their profile page, and who is allowed to comment on their public posts.
Meta also seeks to stop the spread of “intimate” images among teens online, especially those used to exploit them and said it is working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to build a global platform for teens who worry that intimate images of them are being shared online without their consent.
The company indicated that the platform would be similar to what it did to prevent the spread of intimate images between adults on the Internet without their consent.