Instagram Introduces Changes to Protect Teenagers on Its Platform
Facebook on Tuesday unveiled changes to Instagram’s advertising and privacy policies that it said would protect teens, after years of criticism that the photo-sharing site did not do enough to prevent underage users to be victims of sexual predators and intimidation.
The social network, which owns Instagram, has announced that it will change its advertising policy to reduce hyper-targeted ads aimed at teenagers. Advertisers on Instagram and Facebook, who previously used the interests and activity of people on other websites to target their ads, will now only be able to use age, gender, and location to serve ads to users. users under the age of 18.
New Instagram accounts created by under-16s will also be private by default, meaning posts on the account can only be viewed by approved followers, the company said. Facebook said its research indicated that 80% of young users would stay in the private setting by default.
Facebook also said it is also developing technology to prevent accounts with “potentially suspicious behavior” from seeing or interacting with people under the age of 18 on Instagram.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called for more online protections for children. A bill with bipartisan support, the Children and Adolescents Online Privacy Protection Act, would ban targeted advertising directed at children and require user consent to collect information from users under the age of 18. 15 years old.
Despite this, Facebook continues to move forward with its plan to create an Instagram account for children under 13, an expansion opposed by attorneys general from 44 states and jurisdictions as well as an international coalition. of 35 groups of children and consumers. Facebook critics have cited research showing that the use of social media has resulted in increased mental distress, body image issues, and suicidal thoughts.
In a blog post on Tuesday, Pavni Diwanji, vice president of youth products at Facebook, said the company is using artificial intelligence to try to verify the age of users. Birthday messages intended for a user, for example, can be used to detect their age, in addition to the age someone entered into Instagram and other Facebook apps.
“This technology is not perfect, and we are always working to improve it, but that is why it is important that we use it with many other signals to understand the ages of people,” Ms. Diwanji wrote.
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