The latest measure builds on a previous Instagram protection, based on who teenagers follow in the app …
There aren’t likely to be many good reasons for an adult to send an unsolicited DM to an under-16 they don’t know, so Meta is now making it impossible for them to do so. Previously, an adult could message a teen on Instagram if the teenager followed them, but the latest protection goes beyond this.
TechCrunch reports on the improved safeguards.
Until now, Instagram restricts adults over the age of 18 from messaging teens who don’t follow them. The new limits will apply to all users under 16 — and in some geographies under 18 — by default. Meta said that it will notify existing users with a notification.
On Messenger, users will only get messages from Facebook friends, or people they have in their contacts.
Meta is also giving parents and guardians more control over teen accounts.
Meta is also making its parental controls more robust by allowing guardians to allow or deny changes in default privacy settings made by teens. Previously, when teens changed these settings, guardians got a notification, but they couldn’t take any action on them.
The company gave an example that if a teen user tries to make their account public from private, changes the Sensitive Content Control from “Less” to “Standard,” or attempts to change controls around who can DM them, guardians can block them.
Additionally, the social media giant plans to introduce something similar to Apple’s iMessage safety feature, designed to detect and blur nudes. Apple introduced this in 2021.
Apple explains that when a child receives a sexually explicit image, the image will be blurred and the Messages app will display a warning saying the image “may be sensitive.” If the child taps “View photo,” they’ll see a pop-up message that informs them why the image is considered sensitive.
TechCrunch says Meta will emulate this.
The social media giant said that it is also planning to launch a feature that will prevent teens from seeing unwanted and inappropriate images in their DMs sent by people connected to them. The company added that this feature will work in end-to-end encrypted chats as well and will “discourage” teens from sending these types of images.
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