Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has announced new measures to enhance the safety of teenage users on its platforms. These updates include tighter restrictions on direct messaging (DM) and more robust parental controls.
Meta is rolling out new DM restrictions for teens on both Facebook and Instagram. These limitations are designed to prevent unsolicited messages from reaching young users. On Instagram, adults over the age of 18 have been restricted from messaging teens who don’t follow them.
The new limits will extend these restrictions to all users under 16, and in some regions, under 18. Existing users will be notified of these changes through a notification.
On Facebook Messenger, teens will only receive messages from friends or people they have in their contacts. This measure aims to protect teens from unwanted contact from strangers.
Meta is also making its parental controls more robust. Guardians will now have the ability to allow or deny changes in default privacy settings made by teens. Previously, guardians were notified when teens changed these settings but couldn’t take any action. For example, if a teen tries to make their account public or change sensitive content controls, guardians can now block these changes.
Upcoming Features for Teen Safety
Meta plans to introduce a feature that will prevent teens from seeing unwanted and inappropriate images in their DMs, even in end-to-end encrypted chats. This feature aims to discourage teens from sending or receiving such content. However, Meta has not specified the details of how it will ensure the privacy of teens while implementing these features.
These updates are part of Meta’s ongoing efforts to enhance child safety on its platforms. The company has previously introduced tools to restrict content related to self-harm or eating disorders. Meta is also responding to regulatory pressures and legal challenges related to child safety and the mental health of young users.
Meta’s new messaging limitations and parental controls are significant steps towards ensuring the safety of teenage users on social media. By implementing these measures, Meta is addressing growing concerns about the online safety of young individuals and demonstrating its commitment to creating a secure digital environment for all users.