Meta Introduces New Privacy Updates For Teens On Instagram, Facebook

On Monday, Meta announced the rollout of new privacy updates for teens on Facebook and Instagram, which include changes to who can see their friends list, who can see the people and pages they follow, who can see posts they are tagged in, and who is allowed to comment on their public posts.

Everyone under the age of 16 -- or 18 in certain countries -- will now be defaulted into these privacy settings when they join Facebook, with Meta planning to “encourage” teens already on the app to opt into the additional privacy settings mentioned above.

This kind of encouragement also comes in the form of prompts -- asking teens to report accounts they block, alongside safety notices with information on how to navigate inappropriate messages from adults.

The social media giant is also sharing an update on the work it is doing to stop the spread of images used to exploit teens online -- what Meta referred to as “sextortion.”

“The non-consensual sharing of intimate images can be extremely traumatic and we want to do all we can to discourage teens from sharing these images on our apps in the first place,” the company said in a recent statement.

Meta is currently working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to build a global platform for teens who are concerned that their intimate images might be shared on public online platforms without their consent. The company hopes this platform can eventually be used by other tech companies as well.

Meta said it will have more to share on this new resource in the coming weeks.

The company is also working with Thorn and their NoFiltr brand to create educational materials that reduce the shame and stigma surrounding intimate images, and empower teens to seek help and take back control if they’ve shared them or are experiencing sextortion.

Finally, Meta is testing ways to protect teens from messaging “suspicious adults” -- accounts belonging to adults they have recently blocked or was reported by a young person––including not showing them in teens’ “People You May Know” recommendations.

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