Instagram’s new safety features announced as lawmakers question influence on teens

National News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Instagram introduced new teen safety features on Wednesday morning. The news came just ahead of the company’s CEO testimony in front of a Senate hearing.

The new changes targeted at teens include:

  • A ‘stricter’ approach to what is recommended to teens on under the search, explore, hashtags and suggested accounts tabs
  • Teens cannot be tagged or mentioned by accounts that don’t follow them
  • They will be ‘nudged’ towards different topics if they’re spending too much time on one
  • The Take a Break feature would remind teens to step away from Instagram after a set time frame

The company announced parental controls will be launched in March. In a Tweet, CEO Adam Mosseri said the controls would be an agreement between parents and teens. It would allow parents to see how much time is being spent on the app, set a limit for using the app and allows parents to see when their child reports something on Instagram.

Mosseri said the company would begin testing another safety measure that would allow people to view their own digital footprints. Users can view everything they’ve liked and shared. They could also mass delete or manage those posts.

This all came just hours before Mosseri would set to testify in front of lawmakers who are critical of how the platform could potentially harm some young users. Those senators are demanding the company to make changes. It’s unclear if the new safety measures will satisfy those lawmakers.

A whistleblower has accused Instagram’s parent company of knowing the harmful effects it could have on teens, especially girls. Leaked documents showed Facebook, now known as Meta, encouraged prolonged use of the app that could lead some teens to think about suicide. Meta has disputed the allegations.

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