Instagram will begin banning adults from messaging teenagers who don’t follow them in a new move to protect youngsters from online predators.
The social media platform announced they were rolling out new safety features, which will also make it harder for adults to discover young users, within the next few months.
“To protect teens from unwanted contact from adults, we’re introducing a new feature that prevents adults from sending messages to people under 18 who don’t follow them,” Instagram said.
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When an adult tries to message a teen who doesn’t follow them, they will receive a notification stating that DM’ing them isn’t an option.
“This feature relies on our work to predict peoples’ ages using machine learning technology, and the age people give us when they sign up,” the social media giant said.
Teenagers will also begin to receive “safety notices” encouraging them 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 behavior is interacting with them in DMs,” Instagram said.
“For example, if an adult is sending a large amount of friend or message requests to people under 18, we’ll use this tool to alert the recipients within their DMs and give them an option to end the conversation, or block, report, or restrict the adult. ”
The Facebook-owned platform said they’re also going to start exploring new ways to make it more difficult for adults who have been showing potentially suspicious behaviour to interact with teens.
“This may include things like restricting these adults from seeing teen accounts in ‘Suggested Users’, preventing them from discovering teen content in Reels or Explore, and automatically hiding their comments on public posts by teens.”