Online security

Instagram ahead of US Senate hearing strengthens teen protection measures

December 7 (Reuters) – Instagram said on Tuesday it would be stricter on the types of content it recommends for teens in the photo-sharing app and push them to different areas if they dwell on a topic for a long time.

In a blog post, the social media service announced a series of changes for teenage users. Instagram director Adam Mosseri is due to testify Wednesday at a congressional hearing on protecting children online.

Instagram and its parent company Meta Platforms Inc, formerly Facebook, have come under intense scrutiny over how their services could cause mental health, body image and online safety issues for young users.

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In the post, Mosseri also said that Instagram turns off the ability for people to tag or mention teens who don’t follow them on the app. He said that starting in January, teenage Instagram users will be able to bulk delete their content and previous likes and comments.

He said Instagram was exploring controls to limit potentially dangerous or sensitive content suggested to teens through its search function, hashtags, short videos and “Suggested Accounts” feature, as well as on its “Explore” page.

The blog also said that on Tuesday Instagram was launching its ‘Take a Break’ feature in the US, UK, Canada and Australia, which reminds people to take a brief break in the app after taking it. used for some time. .

He said that in March of next year, Instagram will launch its first tools that allow parents and guardians to see how much time their teens are spending on the app and set time limits.

An Instagram spokesperson said she would continue her hiatus over plans for a children’s version of Instagram. Instagram suspended plans for the project in September, amid growing opposition to the project. Read more

The move follows a Wall Street Journal report that internal documents, leaked by former Facebook employee Frances Haugen, showed the company knew Instagram could have harmful effects on teenage mental health, for example. example on their vision of body image. Facebook said the leaked documents were used to paint a false picture of the company’s work.

State attorneys general and lawmakers have also raised concerns about the application aimed at children.

Last month, a bipartisan coalition of U.S. attorneys general said they launched an investigation on Facebook for promoting Instagram to children despite the potential harm. Read more

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Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford in New York; Editing by David Gregorio

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