New teenage Facebook and Instagram users are automatically registered, while existing users must register manually.
The new privacy settings affect:
- Who can see teens’ friends list
- Who can see the people, pages and lists they follow
- Who can see posts that have tagged them on their profile
- Being able to review posts that have tagged them before they appear on their profile
- Who is able to comment on any posts that are public
Meta is testing methods to prevent teens from messaging suspicious adults they aren’t connected to, and these adults won’t appear in their suggested People You May Know suggestions. A “suspicious” account, according to Meta, is one belonging to an adult who was recently blocked or reported by a child.
New Security Tools
Additionally, the company is developing tools that allow users to report any uncomfortable experiences. As Meta says in its blog, “we encourage teens to report account blocking to us, and we send safety notices with tips on dealing with inappropriate messages from adults. Over 100 million people saw safety notices in one month in 2021 on Messenger. Furthermore, we’ve made it easier for people to find our reporting tools, which has resulted in an increase of over 70% in minors reporting to us on Messenger and Instagram DMs”.
Eliminating The Spread Of Sensitive Images
Meta is also developing new tools to stop teens’ intimate images from spreading online. Meta explains:
We’re developing a global platform for teens worried that private images they created could be shared without their approval on public online platforms in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). As with the work we have done to prevent the non-consensual exchange of intimate images by adults, this platform will be similar. It will be similar to what we’ve done to prevent non-consensual sharing of intimate images among adults With this software, we can prevent teens’ intimate images from being posted online and other tech companies can use it as well. In order to ensure that the platform meets the needs of teens so they can regain control of their content in these horrific situations, we have been working closely with NCMEC, experts, academics, parents and victim advocates globally. In the coming weeks, we will share more about this new resource with you.
In addition, we’re creating educational materials with Thorn’s NoFiltr brand to reduce the stigma and shame surrounding intimate images and empower teens seeking help and taking back power.
Those seeking information and support about sextortion can visit Meta’s education and awareness resources, including the Stop Sextortion hub on Facebook Safety Center. You can also read Meta’s announcement on their blog.
Why We Care
It’s hard to criticize Meta for taking steps to protect and prevent harm to teens. Teenagers will default to the new settings once they sign up, but they can still opt out. The new options will have to be selected manually by teens already on the platform, and many may not do so.
At least teens’ parents are now aware of the new changes and can take steps to protect them from them.