what you need to know
- Meta rolls out new updates on Facebook and Instagram aimed at teenage users.
- Adolescents, especially those under 16, are prone to unwanted interactions with unfamiliar adults.
- Facebook is developing new measures and tools to protect young people from suspicious adults.
On Monday, Meta shared some updates coming on its social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. The updates are aimed at new teens joining Facebook in addition to those already using the service and aim to protect teens from suspicious adults.
In an announcement post, Facebook states that the new privacy updates apply to everyone under 16 (or 18 for some regions).
According to Meta, the platforms will no longer recommend “suspicious adults” in the People You May Know recommendations. Also, the “message” button on teen accounts will be hidden so suspicious adults can’t contact them.
Facebook goes on to explain that “suspicious accounts” are those owned by an adult who may have been reported or blocked by another teen. The protection is said to extend to teenagers’ Instagram accounts as well.
picture 1 from 2
The social media giant is also rolling out new notifications for teenagers on the platform to use new safety tools. These tools are designed to help them block unfamiliar adults from messaging them and encourage teens to use them more often. This applies to the “messages” feature on Facebook and Instagram DMs.
Additionally, Facebook is rolling out new privacy controls for teens when they join the social media service. It will also encourage current teenage users in the app to choose the following privacy settings as defaults:
- Who can see their friends list?
- Who can see the people, Pages, and lists they’re following?
- Who can see posts they’re tagged in on their profile?
- Review posts they’re tagged in before the post appears on their profile
- Who can comment on their public posts
picture 1 from 2
In addition to privacy tools, Facebook is highlighting ways it prevents the sharing of minors’ personal photos that can be used to exploit them (aka sextortion). These can be quite traumatizing, and Facebook warns teens against even posting such images on their apps.
“We are working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to build a global platform for teens who fear intimate images they have created may be shared on public online platforms without their consent. This platform will be similar to the work we have done to prevent the non-consensual sharing of adult intimate images.”
Along with NCMEC, Facebook says it is working with experts, academics, parents and victim advocates worldwide to develop a global platform. The purpose of this would be to help the needy teenagers to get out of such situation of uncensored picture sharing. The Meta-owned company will announce more details on this in the coming weeks.
These updates are the latest in Meta’s effort to protect younger users on its platform after it received backlash for its harmful effects on teenagers. Meta is now seemingly taking teen privacy and safety more seriously than anything else that holds promise for parents.