If you are under 16 Instagram is going make your account private, restrict ads, and hide unwanted adult contact
Facebook-owned Instagram is rolling out some important changes for users under the age of 16. The ads these teenagers see will be restricted and they are also going to be protected from unwanted adult contact.
Instagram has announced some important changes they are bringing in for users under the age of 16 on the platform, including changes to its advertising algorithms. Instagram is not going to allow advertisers to target users under the age of 18 with anything other than gender, age, and location data. “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 at Instagram.
Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger allow advertisers to use options based on users' interests and even activity on other apps, websites along with age, gender, and location to send them targeted ads. This is going to change on Instagram. Instagram is, however, not asking its teenage users to seek parental approval and guidance for creating an account on the platform though. This is a measure that the Indian government's Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill has detailed. As Mint points out, in its “current form”, PDP “puts the onus of monitoring minors' internet use on platforms, and has set 18 as the age of consent”.
This directive of the PDP has been opposed by most social media platforms and industry experts who are of the opinion that something like this is going to need additional verification measures and more data to be collected from platforms.
These new settings will be in force for teenage users till they turn 18 and then Instagram is going to inform them about the targeting options advertisers can use to serve ads. Instagram is also going to make the accounts of all users under 16 private by default. A private account on Instagram means that users can control who can see and comment on their posts. New followers have to be manually allowed to follow them and content from private accounts do not show up on Public Instagram feeds.
However, this new default feature is going to apply to new users joining Instagram. Instagram is going to inform existing users about this so as they can choose to change their account settings. Instagram said that teenagers prefer a more private experience and according to their internal tests, eight out of 10 teenagers prefered a private account by default setting when they signed up on the platform. These new changes apply to users in India, and South-East Asia.
Additionally, Instagram said that they are adding a feature that will allow them to zero in on user accounts that have shown “potentially suspicious behaviour” or have been reported against by other underage users in the past. Instagram is going to stop these accounts from interacting with younger users. "These are people who haven't broken our rules yet. What we're really looking at is behaviour that hasn't been rule-breaking yet but might be suspicious,” explained Newton. This restriction in adults being able to interact with teenage users will roll out in Australia, France, UK, US, and Japan first and then come to other countries.