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 Feature 1
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."

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Top Rated Comments

4jasontv Avatar
38 months ago
Why not make all accounts default to private?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nikaru Avatar
38 months ago
All accounts should be private by default, and making your account public, should be optional. When you turn on this option, warning messages should pop up informing you that you are about to show the whole world your photos, including the comments beneath such photos, who is liking your photos, etc etc. This allows the user not just to take decision, but to take informed decision. Obviously, Instagram and other social networks care more about traffic, than users safety and privacy.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Floop Avatar
38 months ago
Privacy should be the default position, particularly for a service which is built around sharing of personal photos. Children are not all equipped to understand the implications of all their actions, particularly younger ones.


I don't use Instagram so this is just an outsiders observation, but I'd think most people who use Instagram don't want to deal with the hassle of having to individually accept and approve each request to be followed especially when so many users are trying to be Instagram famous or become an "influencer"

There's almost always someone somewhere telling people to "follow me on Instagram"
There certainly are a lot of people like that, but I'm not sure that is typical of the average user. In any case, if privacy was the default then they could have an option for adults who don't want to screen each follower that allows anybody to follow them.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mansplains Avatar
38 months ago

Why not make all accounts default to private?

All accounts should be private by default, and making your account public, should be optional.
While I dislike IG greatly and am not a user, a big part of social networking is discovery. If you need permission to follow everything how do you discover something cool and new if you're rejected? Private by default with the option sounds better, but how is this any different than hosting your own content on a website with password protection for private posts?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
the8thark Avatar
38 months ago

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.
People will put an incorrect age on their profile to avoid targeted ads.
I just hope safari keeps going the way it does so the targeted ads are further limited and with search engines like duckduckgo we can prevent even more of their profiteering from information taken without our consent.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Floop Avatar
38 months ago
Services like Instagram and Twitter had the choice to do this years and years ago, and it would have been far safer for users if they had done so; but once again, we see the greed of these companies that put their commercial desire to scale quickly and amass a huge user base ahead of their ethical and moral responsibility to keep people - particularly young people - safe.

Now that Instagram is dominant in it's area, they are implementing this new policy, and looking for plaudits for doing so. They get none from me! Not that they care, I'm sure!
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)