Instagram to Begin Defaulting Accounts for New Users Under the Age of 16 to Private
Instagram will now automatically default the accounts of users on its platform under the age of 16 to "private" during initial account set-up, meaning only followers that a user accepts and approves of will be able to see their photos, videos, and posts, the company announced today.
Instagram has been on a recent push to make its platform safer and more secure for younger users, which make up a considerable amount of the platform's demographic. Instagram says that research concluded that eight out of ten "young users" who signed up for its platform choose to make their account private rather than public.
Instagram asks users for their date of birth during initial account sign-up, and from now, for users under the age of 16, the app will automatically select "Private" for their account. Existing users under the age of 16 will receive an in-app notification encouraging them to convert their public account into a private one.
Private accounts let people control who sees or responds to their content. If you have a private account, people have to follow you to see your posts, Stories and Reels. People also can't comment on your content in those places, and they won't see your content at all in places like Explore or hashtags.
Historically, we asked young people to choose between a public account or a private account when they signed up for Instagram, but our recent research showed that they appreciate a more private experience. During testing, eight out of ten young people accepted the private default settings during sign-up.
Instagram is not going into full enforcement mode, however, as it will continue to allow users under the age of 16 to keep their account public if they wish. The company today also announced several other changes coming to the platform, including updated rules for advertisers.
The Facebook-owned app says that in a few weeks, it will no longer allow advertisers to target ads for users under the age of 18 based on their age, gender, or location. This new rule will apply to Instagram, Facebook, and Facebook Messenger.
We're also making changes to how advertisers can reach young people with ads. Starting in a few weeks, we'll only allow advertisers to target ads to people under 18 (or older in certain countries) based on their age, gender and location. This means that previously available targeting options, like those based on interests or on their activity on other apps and websites, will no longer be available to advertisers. These changes will be global and apply to Instagram, Facebook and Messenger.
The app also announced new measures it's taking within the app to prevent "unwanted contact" by utilizing "new technology that will allow us to find accounts that have shown potentially suspicious behavior and stop those accounts from interacting with young people's accounts."