Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, has implemented stricter message settings specifically tailored for teenagers.
On Thursday, Meta implemented stricter controls on its social media channels, Instagram and Facebook, aiming to restrict direct communication between unfamiliar individuals and teenagers below the ages of 16 or 18.
As an extra measure to ensure the safety of adolescents from unsolicited interactions, the tech giant announced the disabling of their capability to receive direct messages (DMs) on Instagram by default.
This change encompasses messages from individuals who are not in their list of followers or connections, including other teenagers.
The company said in an email, “Under this new default setting, teens can only be messaged or added to group chats by people they already follow or are connected to, helping teens and their parents feel even more confident that they won’t hear from people they don’t know in their DMs. Teens in supervised accounts will need to get their parent’s permission to change this setting.”
These actions are a response to global regulatory concerns about the safety of children using social media platforms.
Meta recently unveiled features enabling parents to monitor teens' activities and interactions, and introduced a worldwide "Quiet Mode" encouraging teens to establish time limits on Facebook.
“We’re also making these changes to teens’ default settings on Messenger, where under 16s (or under 18 in certain countries) will only receive messages from Facebook friends, or people they’re connected to through phone contacts, for example,” said the company.
Moreover, Meta intends to introduce a fresh functionality aimed at preventing teenagers from encountering unwarranted and potentially inappropriate images within their messages, particularly from individuals they are already connected to.
This feature is also designed to dissuade teenagers from sharing such images themselves. Meta plans to provide further details on this initiative later in the year.
Additionally, parents utilizing supervision features will receive prompts to either approve or deny requests from their teenagers seeking to modify default safety and privacy settings to a less stringent state, offering more control over these adjustments rather than merely being notified of the changes.
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