Instagram has published a new policy aimed at keeping young audiences safe. The social media platform will limit interaction between teenagers and adults. According to the company, adult users will soon be unable to send direct messages to teens who do not follow them.
Adult users will only be able to send private messages to teenagers who follow them. In addition, Instagram will identify adults who have been "exhibiting potentially suspicious behavior." If such a user messages a teen, the latter will see a corresponding prompt, reminding teenagers that they do not have to reply to messages if it causes them inconvenience, the company said in a statement.
Under the new company policy, suspicious adult behavior could include activities such as sending large numbers of friend requests or messages to users under the age of 18.
At the same time, if it turns out that an adult often adds people under the age of 18 to friends, or DMs them a lot, the teenager will have the opportunity to end the conversation and block such a user.
Also, teenagers will be shown safety tips reminding them that they need to be careful when sending media files and other information to strangers, and also that they should not succumb to the pressure of strangers, send them personal photos or talk too much about themselves.
Instagram is also developing new "artificial intelligence and machine learning technology" that will determine the exact age of a person when registering on Instagram. However, the statement did not specify exactly how the new feature will work. Now, only users who are 13 and older can create an Instagram account, but many teenagers bypass this restriction by simply specifying a different birth date. The new feature should fix this.
The new features will be available globally, but will only test in select countries at first.