Instagram yesterday announced a series of new security measures to help safeguard its youngest users when using the popular photo-sharing app.
The measures include defaulting new young users to private and not public accounts, limiting access to the accounts of children for adult registered accounts that are considered suspicious by Instagram, as well as taking aim at the way advertisers use the platform to target children.
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Central to these new measures is Instagram’s use of computer algorithms to detect “potentially suspicious behavior” on the platform. According to Instagram's blog post (opens in new tab), these algorithms will help sniff out harmful patterns of behavior from adult accounts.
Once a suspicious account has been flagged, it will restrict the account holder from being able to view the accounts of children in the search function and in Reels, along with any comments originating from children on other people's posts. This also applies to searching a username, and if the suspicious user themselves attempts to leave comments on children's posts.
Flagging harmful users
The exact detail concerning Instagram's way of detecting potentially harmful accounts hasn't been revealed by the firm; however, if several young people block a particular account, the app's algorithm will likely flag that account as suspicious. Used in tandem with other 'red flags', it should help Instagram automatically block these suspect accounts from interacting with younger people on the platform.
Additionally, by automatically placing newly registered accounts of under 16s on private, Instagram hopes it will be a powerful way to restrict access to youngsters' content from the moment they sign up. Existing users who fall into the under 16s category will also receive an in-app notification suggesting a switch to private mode.
Instagram is rolling out the changes in the US, Australia, France, the UK and Japan to start, and it will then look to expand to other countries afterward.