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Protecting Youth: Restricting Teen Access to Certain Content

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Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, announced its initiative to conceal certain types of content from users under 18 on its platforms.

This move aims to establish more “age-appropriate experiences” for young users. Content related to sensitive topics such as self-harm, eating disorders, and mental health will be removed from teenagers’ feeds and stories, regardless of the source.

Image sourced from ABC News.

Additionally, Meta will automatically implement the most restrictive content control settings for all teens on Facebook and Instagram, encouraging them to update their privacy settings for enhanced account privacy.

This decision follows increasing criticism and legal actions against Meta concerning the well-being and safety of children and teenagers. The “Facebook Papers,” leaked internal documents in 2021, revealed Meta’s awareness of Instagram’s negative impact on the body image and mental health of teen girls.

To use Favorites and Following, tap on Instagram in the top left corner of your home. Image sourced from Meta.

Despite these efforts, some experts and advocates express skepticism about Meta’s motives and effectiveness, contending that the company is not doing enough to shield young users from harmful content and behavior. Concerns include Meta’s allowance of access to and sharing of content promoting violence, hate, misinformation, and bullying among teens. Critics also question Meta’s transparency and accountability, advocating for independent oversight and increased regulation of the social media giant.

Meta plans to implement these changes gradually for users under 18, with full integration on Facebook and Instagram in the coming months. The company expresses its commitment to collaborating with experts and stakeholders to enhance its platforms for young users and explore innovative ways to create positive and meaningful online experiences for them.

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