While Instagram is a great platform for young people to share photos, videos and moments from their life, it can sometimes invite unwanted DMs or comments from strangers, especially if their accounts are public. To improve their experience, Instagram has introduced a number of updates that will protect young users on the platform.
Starting with new accounts who belong to users under the age 16 (or age 18 in some countries), Instagram will now default their accounts to ‘private’, which should give them control over who sees or responds to their content. This should protect them from strangers sending them DMs or commenting on their posts.
For young people accounts that are already have public accounts, Instagram will show them an in-app notification that explains the benefits of switching to a private account. Of course, Instagram will continue to offer the user a choice of whether they want to stay public or not.
The second update is a change to their young users’ account searchability. Instagram has rolled out a system that will make it harder for potentially suspicious accounts to find and interact with young users. For example, adults with accounts that have been have recently been blocked or reported by a young person will no longer see young people’s accounts in Explore, Reels or ‘Accounts Suggested For You’.
Even if the potentially suspicious adult finds the young person’s account via Search, Instagram will block them from following these accounts, viewing comments from young people on other people’s posts and also block them from commenting on young people’s posts. This particular update will first roll out US, Australia, France, the UK and Japan and later will roll out to other regions.
The last update changes the way advertisers can reach young people with ads. Previously, advertisers could get information about a user’s interests or on their activity on other apps and websites to deliver relevant ads. However, for accounts belonging to users under the age 18, Instagram will only give advertisers basic information such as age, gender and location.
These three changes should help improve the platform experience for young users and significantly reduce the possibility of having a negative experience.