Instagram announces teen safety update

Adam Mosseri, Facebook

Beck Diefenbach | Reuters

Instagram said early Tuesday that it was rolling out a number of new features in an effort to improve teen safety in the app, like parental controls and an option to prevent people from tagging. or refer to teenagers.

The changes come a day before Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri set to testify before Congress first. The appearance of Mosseri follow bombshell reports that showed Facebook, now it’s Metaand Instagram are aware of the harm their apps and services cause, including adolescent mental health.

An internal Facebook presentation first reported by The Wall Street Journal said that of the teenagers who reported suicidal thoughts, 13% of UK users and 6% of US users followed the issue via Instagram. The reports are based on thousands of pages of internal documents provided by former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen. More than 40% of Instagram users are 22 years old or younger, according to leaked internal documents and Instagram since has halted plans to build a special version of the app for kids.

Mosseri may point to a number of new features to protect its company’s work from lawmakers.

For example, Instagram will prevent users from tagging or mentioning teenagers who don’t follow them. It will also start suggesting other topics if a teen spends too much time on a particular interest, the company said. It will also release tools for parents and guardians next year, allowing parents to view and limit the time their teens spend on Instagram and will notify parents if a teen reports Report other users.

Another feature, called “Take a Break” will ask users to stop using Instagram momentarily and will prompt users to take more breaks, Instagram said. The feature, which needs to be enabled first, will launch in the US, Canada and Australia on Wednesday and to all users early next year, Instagram said.

“Following a report on Instagram’s toxic impact, we wanted to hear candid opinions from the company’s management why it uses powerful algorithms to push harmful content to children. , push them down rabbit holes to dark places and what it will do to make its foundation safer”. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who sits on the committee that Mosseri will testify in front of, previously said in a statement to CNBC.

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube. Instagram announces teen safety update

Sarah Ridley

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