In an effort to better protect underage users, Meta is adjusting default privacy settings on Facebook and Instagram to limit contact by “suspicious adults.”
Now when a teen joins Facebook, their account automatically has stricter privacy protections. This includes, but is not limited to, deciding who can see their friends list, which pages they follow, and who can comment on their posts. For accounts created before this update, Metastates (opens in new tab) it will start pushing those users to adopt the same settings, but will not force it. If this all sounds familiar, that’s because Instagram has made similar changes back in 2021 to protect young people there.
Power to the user
Meta continues that it is working on new ways to prevent blocked and reported accounts from contacting underage users.
One way to do this on Instagram is to remove the message button as part of a test, making it impossible for predatory adults to use Instagram messages to directly contact teen users.
In addition, these flagged accounts will no longer appear in the People You May Know recommendations feed on Facebook.
There’s a new notification for both Messenger and Instagram encouraging teens to use safety tools when they feel “uncomfortable” during a conversation. One notification will ask users if they know the person who just messaged them. If ‘No’ is chosen, both apps will have a series of actions (opens in new tab) they can take, such as blocking or reporting the account.
According to the announcement, Facebook’s new default privacy settings are rolling out today (Nov. 21); presumably the other changes are too. We have contacted Meta for clarification. This story will be updated if we hear anything.
In addition to the update, Meta announced that it is partnering with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to create a new platform to “prevent [teenagers’] intimate images that are posted online” and spread across the internet. It aims to help underage users “take back control” of these leaked images, while also discouraging these acts in the first place.
While it’s great to see more security features being added, Meta’s recent privacy record is confusing. On the one hand, the business improved Instagram’s blocking system to prevent trolls from further harassing you in October. But at the same time the platform implemented a new precise location feature that can make users vulnerable to stalkers or theft.
It’s a rather mixed message that could lead to privacy concerns for all users; especially teenagers. Therefore, make sure you check out BingoTingo’s best parental control app for 2022.