Instagram To Roll Out New Teen Protection Features Ahead Of U.S Senate Hearing

Instagram has revealed plans to introduce new features that will protect and supervise the experiences and usage of teenagers and children on the app.

The announcement comes as Instagram’s Vice President of Product, Adam Mosseri, is due to testify in a Congressional hearing on Wednesday about protecting children online.

In a blog post, Mosseri announced that it will launch the “Take a Break” feature in the US, UK, Canada and Australia today.

As the name of the feature implies, when a user has been on Instagram for a long time, the app will ask them to take a break and to set reminders for breaks in the future. Teens will also receive notifications reminding them to set the reminders, ensuring they know about the feature.

He said Instagram will be switching off the ability for adults to tag or mention teenagers who do not follow them on the app, building on the feature released earlier in the year, which prevents adults from sending direct messages to teens who do not follow them. 

Starting January, another feature will allow teens to bulk delete the pictures, videos, likes and comments they posted when they were much younger.

In the post, Instagram also said it plans to potentially limit harmful or sensitive content suggested to teens when they use the ‘Explore’ page, the search function, hashtags, Reels and the ‘Suggested Accounts’ feature.

Finally, in March 2022, it intends to launch tools that allow parents and guardians to see how much time their teen spend on the app and set time limits for them.

Instagram and its parent company Meta Platforms Inc, formerly Facebook Inc., have been under scrutiny over ways their services could cause issues around the mental health, body image and online safety of younger users.

Instagram and Facebook have been facing a lot of backlash after whistleblower, Frances Haugen, said the social networks have negative effects on teens based on Meta’s own research.

THE WHISTLER reported how Haugen urged Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, to step down and allow change at the company instead of devoting resources to rebranding.

She said this during the period when Facebook changed its name to Meta, to separate the parent company from the Facebook social media app.

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