Instagram reforms its settings for users under 16 years of age on the platform, defaulting their profiles to private and limiting targeted advertising for this demographic. According to Instagram, the goal is to provide a safer and more private experience for young people.
“We want young people to enjoy using Instagram while making sure we never compromise on their privacy and safety. We want to strike the right balance of giving young people all the things they love about Instagram while also keeping them safe. That’s why we’re announcing changes we’re making today. We’ll continue listening to them, their parents, lawmakers and experts to build an Instagram that works for young people and is trusted by parents,” said Karina Newton, Public Policy Director of Instagram.
The social media giant is immensely popular among Indian and international youth. The app, which Facebook owns, has a global user base of over one billion people. Even though Statista does not split out users by nation, India was the most popular country in terms of Instagram audience size in April 2021, with 150 million users accessing the photo-sharing and editing app, followed by the United States with 140 million users.
The change will be implemented beginning this week. For default private account settings in some countries, the age limit will be less than 18 rather than 16. Users with private accounts have more control over who sees and responds to their content. People who want to see your posts, Stories, and Reels must follow you if you have a private account. Moreover, users won’t be able to comment on your content there, and they won’t see it in areas like the Explore section or hashtags.
Those under the age of 16 (or 18) who already have a public profile on Instagram will receive a notification explaining the benefits of a private account and how to modify their privacy settings.
Instagram stated, “We’ll still give young people the choice to switch to a public account or keep their current account public if they wish.” Also, Instagram introduces another change, limiting young users’ activity and visibility to potentially suspicious adult accounts.
Moreover, the social networking giant has developed a new technology, which will allow people to find accounts that have shown potentially suspicious behavior. It will stop those accounts from interacting with young people’s accounts. The term “potentially suspicious behavior” on Instagram will predict accounts belonging to adults that may have recently been blocked or reported by a young person, for example. With the use of this technology, now the young people’s accounts would not be shown in Explore, Reels or ‘Accounts Suggested For You’ to these adults.”
In addition, Instagram will limit how advertisers can reach out to a younger demographic.
“We’re also making changes to how advertisers can reach young people with ads. Starting in a few weeks, we’ll only allow advertisers to target ads to people under 18 (or older in certain countries) based on their age, gender and location. This means that previously available targeting options, like those based on interests or on their activity on other apps and websites, will no longer be available to advertisers. These changes will be global and apply to Instagram, Facebook and Messenger,” the company added.
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