Social Media Platforms Set to Place More Protection on Younger Users

( – Meta has introduced new features for Instagram and Facebook aimed at protection for teens and to reduce the number of unwanted interactions that they receive. These updates specifically target users under 16 years old. Meta has made the default settings on Instagram stricter for teens. Now, if a user does not “follow” the teen or is not being followed by them, that user will not be able to contact them in any way. Messages to teens or adding them to group chats can now only be done by somebody they already know.

These new default settings align with Meta’s ongoing commitment to make a safer online space for younger users. It is similar to their existing restrictions that prevent adults over the age of 19 from messaging teens who aren’t following them. Limits have also been imposed on the type and number of private messages that people can send to someone who doesn’t follow them, allowing only one text-only message. These changes also extend to Messenger, Facebook’s chat app, where users under 16 will only receive messages from Facebook friends or people they’re connected to through contacts on their phone.

On Instagram, supervised accounts now will also mandate parental permission for teens (under 16) to modify their default safety and privacy settings. Notifications about requests to modify settings, such as making an account public, changing sensitivity settings, or customizing direct message settings for their child, will be sent to parents, who can then choose whether to approve or decline the requests.

Larry Magid, CEO of ConnectSafely, commented on these changes, emphasizing that Meta has struck a good balance between giving teens a good amount of privacy and freedom, but also giving parents the ability to prevent unwarranted contact. These updates come amid increased attention to the company after a former Meta employees testimony in the US senate, saying that the company was aware of harassment and harm facing teens on its platforms but failed to act.

Copyright 2024,