Instagram defaults users under 16 into private accounts

Instagram today announced a series of privacy changes that aims to create a safer and private experience for young users on its app. The company said it will now default users under 16 into private accounts. 

For users under 16 who already have a public account on Instagram, the company will show a notification highlighting the benefits of a private account and explaining how to change their privacy settings.

“Historically, we asked young people to choose between a public account or a private account when they signed up for Instagram, but our recent research showed that they appreciate a more private experience. During testing, eight out of ten young people accepted the private default settings during sign-up.” the company said in a statement

In addition, Instagram also announced a new technology that finds accounts belonging to adults that have shown potentially suspicious behavior like being recently blocked or purported by a young person and stops those accounts from interacting with young people’s accounts. 

Using this new technology, Instagram now won’t show young people’s accounts in Explore, Reels or ‘Accounts Suggested For You’ to these adults. Even if they find young users’ accounts by searching for their username, they won’t be able to follow them and they also won’t be able to see comments from young people on other accounts’ posts. 

Back in March, Instagram had announced that it banned adults from DM’ing teenagers under the age of 18 who don’t follow them.

Instagram also announced that, starting in a few weeks, it’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 said. 

When young people turn 18, Instagram will notify them about targeting options that advertisers can now use to reach them. 

According to an internal company post obtained in March,  Instagram is reportedly working on a new version for kids under 13 to provide the safest experience for teens. 

Written by Maya Robertson

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