Meta shares an update on how to protect young people from harm and seek to create safe, age-appropriate experiences for teens on Facebook and Instagram.
Updates to Limiting Unwanted Interactions
Last year, Meta shared some of the measures taken to protect teens from interacting with potentially suspicious adults on Facebook and Instagram. For example, restricting adults from messaging teens they aren’t connected to or from seeing teens in their People You May Know recommendations.
In addition to the existing measures, Meta is now testing ways to protect teens from messaging suspicious adults they aren’t connected to, and they won’t show them in teens’ People You May Know recommendations. A “suspicious” account is one that belongs to an adult that may have recently been blocked or reported by a young person, for example. As an extra layer of protection, Meta is also testing removing the message button on teens’ Instagram accounts when they’re viewed by suspicious adults altogether.
Encouraging Teens to Use Our Safety Tools
Meta has developed a number of tools so teens can let everyone know if something makes them feel uncomfortable while using tjheir apps, and Meta is introducing new notifications that encourage them to use these tools.
For example, Meta is prompting teens to report accounts to the company after they block someone, and sending them safety notices with information on how to navigate inappropriate messages from adults. In just one month in 2021, more than 100 million people saw safety notices on Messenger. Meta has also made it easier for people to find the reporting tools and, as a result, they saw more than a 70% increase in reports sent to Meta by minors in Q1 2022 versus the previous quarter on Messenger and Instagram DMs.
New Privacy Defaults for Teens on Facebook
Starting from now, everyone who is under the age of 16 (or under 18 in certain countries) will be defaulted into more private settings when they join Facebook, and Meta will encourage teens already on the app to choose these more private settings for:
- Who can see their friends list
- Who can see the people, Pages and lists they follow
- Who can see posts they’re tagged in on their profile
- Reviewing posts they’re tagged in before the post appears on their profile
- Who is allowed to comment on their public posts
This move comes on the heels of rolling out similar privacy defaults for teens on Instagram and aligns with the safety-by-design and ‘Best Interests of the Child’ framework.
New Tools to Stop the Spread of Teens’ Intimate Images
Meta is also sharing an update on the work they’re doing to stop the spread of teens’ intimate images online, particularly when these images are used to exploit them — commonly known as “sextortion.” The non-consensual sharing of intimate images can be extremely traumatic and Meta wants to do all they can to discourage teens from sharing these images on the apps in the first place.
Meta is working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to build a global platform for teens who are worried intimate images they created might be shared on public online platforms without their consent. This platform will be similar to work Meta has done to prevent the non-consensual sharing of intimate images for adults on Facebook and Instagram. It will allow to help prevent a teen’s intimate images from being posted online and can be used by other companies across the tech industry. Meta has been working closely with NCMEC, experts, academics, parents and victim advocates globally to help develop the platform and ensure it responds to the needs of teens so they can regain control of their content in these horrific situations. Meta will have more to share on this new resource in the coming weeks.
Meta 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.