Meta has recently announced a series of measures aimed at bolstering the safety of underage users on Facebook and Instagram. The most significant change involves restricting the ability of teens under 16 (and in some regions, up to 18) to send messages to individuals not on their Facebook friends or contacts list. This update builds on Instagram’s existing policy, which previously prohibited adults over 18 from messaging teenagers who didn’t follow them.
Default Restrictions for Under-16 Users
Effective immediately, these new messaging restrictions will apply by default to all users under 16, with some regions extending the age limit to 18. Meta plans to notify existing users about these changes through notifications. For Facebook Messenger, messages will only be received from friends on Facebook or contacts.
Enhanced Parental Controls
In a bid to empower parents or guardians, Meta is rolling out more robust parental controls. Previously, guardians could only receive notifications about setting changes made by teens without the ability to intervene. Now, guardians can actively allow or disallow alterations to default privacy settings, such as changes from private to public accounts or adjustments to content filtering and message controls.
Blocking Unwanted Content and Images
Additionally, Meta is set to introduce a feature preventing teens from encountering unwanted and inappropriate images in private messages. This safeguard will also extend to end-to-end encrypted chats, discouraging the sharing of explicit content among minors.
These updates follow Meta’s recent introduction of tools designed to limit minors’ exposure to toxic content, including material related to self-harm, violence, or eating disorders on Facebook and Instagram, reminds NIX Solutions.
This comprehensive approach by Meta underscores its commitment to creating a safer online environment for young users on its platforms. The company continues to proactively address challenges related to online safety, ensuring that parents and guardians have the necessary tools to protect their underage users.