Instagram has stated that under-16 users’ profiles would be switched to private by default, as part of a series of initiatives to protect young users.
The measures were implemented on July 27 by the social media behemoth.
Instagram noted in a blog post, “Wherever we can, we want to stop young people from hearing from adults they don’t know, or who they don’t want to hear from.”
“We believe private accounts are the best way to prevent this from happening.”
Anyone under the age of 16 who joins Instagram will have a private account by default starting this week. In some countries, this may also encompass users under the age of 18.[irp]
Users that follow private accounts can only see their posts, Stories, and Reels if they are following them.
Non-followers are likewise unable to comment on or view private account posts in the Explore or hashtag sections.
Users under the age of 16 who already have an Instagram account will receive a notification touting the advantages of a private account. It will also show them how to change their privacy settings to make their account private.
Other safeguards for young Instagram users
At the same time, Instagram’s regulations on which advertisements can reach young users have altered.
Advertisers will be able to target adverts to under-18 users based on their age, gender, and location starting in a few weeks.[irp]
Other targeting options will be unavailable, such as those based on interest or behavior on other websites or apps.
The ad adjustments will be implemented globally, as well as on Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger.
Meanwhile, Instagram is introducing technology that will detect potentially suspect behavior from accounts that engage with children.
Young users’ accounts will also be hidden from flagged accounts in Explore, Reels, and ‘Accounts Suggested For You.’
Flagged accounts are unable to follow young people, see their comments, or leave comments on their posts.[irp]
Instagram will implement these modifications in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, and Japan. It will soon be available in other countries.
Instagram introduced a setting earlier this month that allows users to prevent potentially sensitive content from displaying in their Explore tab. Other possibilities included shutting off comments and preventing users from communicating with one another.