Instagram to be stricter about teen content

By Amelia Riley

Instagram will be stricter about the type of content it recommends to teens after hearing over scrutiny on the impact it has on young users.

In the latest congressional hearing, the social media platform was scrutinized on the impact it has on its young users. The head of Instagram testified before US lawmakers on Wednesday about protecting kids online.

The platform and its parent company, Meta (formerly Facebook), faced global criticisms over the way it impacts body image, mental health and online safety of young users.

A release of internal Facebook documents by a former employee revealed the company’s internal research which showed Instagram negatively affected the mental health of teenagers, and particularly regarding issues around body image.

Ahead of the hearing, Instagram said it will be stricter about the types of content it recommends to teens. It will aim to nudge young users towards different areas if they appear to dwell on one topic for a long time.

On Tuesday, the social media platform posted a blog post that announced it was switching off the ability for people to tag or mention teens who do not follow them, and would enable young users to bulk delete their content including previous likes and comments.

Adam Mosseri added that Instagram was exploring controls to limit potentially harmful or sensitive material suggested, working on parental controls, and launching a “Take a Break” feature to remind users to take a brief pause from the app after using it for a certain length of time, in some countries.

Amid growing opposition to a project for a version of Instagram for kids, Instagram suspended the plans in September and a spokeswoman has said the company will continue to pause its plans for the project.

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