Instagram, a Facebook-owned firm, is introducing changes designed to make its platform safer for young people.
According to The Verge, a US tech news site, Instagram users who are under 16 or 18 in some countries will have their accounts set to private by default albeit with an option to switch to the public.
The publication said that a user who is minor and has a public account will receive a notification to switch to private.
According to Forrester.com, every month over 800 million use Instagram, and by engagement with brands the platform is 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times more than Pinterest and 84 times more than Twitter.
The photo-sharing platform is one of the most popular social media platforms in Rwanda, especially among young people.
Brands are also increasingly turning to it for marketing and public relations purposes, while journalists and news media organisations utilise it for sourcing for news and distributing their content.
Instagram’s support page states that private accounts let people control who sees or responds to their content.
If you have a private account, people have to follow you to see your posts, stories, and reels unless you choose to allow others to re-share your content.
People also can’t comment on your content in those places, and they won’t see your content at all in places like explore or hashtags.
Instagram says it’s aware that creating an experience that’s safe and private for young people, but also fun comes with competing challenges, however, it believes that this new feature will help.
“We want young people to easily make new friends and keep up with their family, but we don’t want them to deal with unwanted DMs or comments from strangers. We think private accounts are the right choice for young people, but we recognize some young creators might want to have public accounts to build a following,” Instagram wrote in a blog post published on its website.
“For young people who already have a public account on Instagram, we will show them a notification highlighting the benefits of a private account and explaining how to change their privacy settings. We will still give young people the choice to switch to a public account or keep their current account public if they wish.”
The firm also revealed that their recent research showed that young people appreciate a more private experience where eight out of ten accepted the private default settings during sign-up.
On Instagram, the company said that it’s able to identify “potentially suspicious behaviour” from accounts. This means the account may have been recently blocked or reported by a younger person, for example.
According to The Verge, these suspicious users will be virtually separated from users under 16: they won’t be shown under-16 accounts in their explore, reels or accounts suggested for your pages, nor will they see comments from users under 16 on others’ posts or be able to comment on content from users younger than 16.
“We are trying to figure out if an adult is exhibiting suspicious behaviour,” Instagram’s head of public policy, Karina Newton, was quoted NBC News.
“The adult might not have broken the rules yet, but might be doing things that make us look at them more deeply.”
According to NBC News, Instagram’s under-13 app was still being worked on and that the company was in deep consultation with experts in child development and privacy advocates to meet the needs of families and youth.
Originally Appeared Here