Instagram cracks down on adults messaging minors with new safety features

Source: 1News

Instagram is adding a new safety feature to protect minors from unwanted messages from adults. 

Instagram app on mobile phone (file picture).

In a blog post , the Facebook-owned social media platform said the feature would prevent adults sending direct messages to those under 18 who don’t follow them. 

But, the platform acknowledged people could pretend to be younger than they actually were.

“This feature relies on our work to predict peoples’ ages using machine learning technology, and the age people give us when they sign up,” Instagram said. 

“While many people are honest about their age, we know that young people can lie about their date of birth.

“We want to do more to stop this from happening, but verifying people's age online is complex and something many in our industry are grappling with.

“To address this challenge, we’re developing new artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to help us keep teens safer and apply new age-appropriate features."

The app will also begin to use safety notices to “encourage teens to be cautious in conversations with adults they’re already connected to”.

“Safety notices in DMs will notify young people when an adult who has been exhibiting potentially suspicious behaviour is interacting with them in DMs,” Instagram said. 

For example, “potentially suspicious behaviour” could include an adult account that sends a lot of friend or message requests to people under 18.

Instagram would make it “more difficult” for adults displaying “potentially suspicious behaviour” to interact with teens. For example, these accounts might be restricted from seeing teen accounts in its “Suggested Users” feature.

Those under 18 would also be encouraged to make their accounts private.

Only those over the age of 13 are permitted to use the app.