Instagram tightens default content settings for teens

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Instagram announced that the platform is rolling out a feature that defaults accounts for new users under 16 to “Under”, the most restrictive setting for controlling sensitive content. Teens already on Instagram will receive push notifications “encouraging” them to accept the heavier filtering on what the algorithm shows them in search, explore, hashtag pages, reels, stream recommendations and accounts suggested.

Instagram’s “Standard” setting only allows users to view certain content deemed sensitive, while the “Less” option tightens restrictions even further, and the “More” option allows users to view content or accounts. more sensitive than the default settings. While users over the age of 18 generally have access to “Standard”, “Less” and “Plus”, teenagers currently only have access to “Standard” and “Less”.

In June, Instagram introduced its “Less” option for the first time. A week later, it started rolling out a feature in the US and other countries to suggest teen users check out other content if they spend too much time on a particular topic and excludes topics related to appearance comparison.

Instagram is also testing prompts for teens that suggest limiting who can interact with their content. The test will ask them to review privacy and security settings related to who can re-share their content, who can send them messages, what type of content they can see, and time management.

Teen users will be encouraged to review who can interact with their content
Picture: Instagram

The “Sensitive Content Control” feature launched on Instagram in July 2021. The filter was supposed to prevent users from seeing potentially harmful and “inappropriate” material suggested to them on the Explore page. As Meta/Instagram increases suggested content in response to the rise of TikTok, the tuning applied to the algorithm has become more impactful.

The feature has been welcomed by many in the art world, sex workers, tattoo artists, and the cannabis industry, as they could be kicked out of the suggestion feed if their accounts or content were flagged. In the Help Center, Instagram outlines what it considers sensitive content, including posts that contain violent or sexually explicit or suggestive depictions, promote controlled products and substances, and more.

Instagram has recently introduced other features on Instagram that help provide a secure experience. In March, Parental Controls arrived on the platform that allows parents and guardians to monitor what their child is doing on Instagram, including how much time they spend on the app.

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