The social media giant, Meta, has announced that new DM restrictions will be implemented on Facebook and Instagram for teens. These restrictions will prevent anyone from messaging teens, creating a safer online environment for young users.
“Until now, Instagram restricts adults over the age of 18 from messaging teens who don’t follow them. The new limits will apply to all users under 16 — and in some geographies under 18 — by default. Meta said that it will notify existing users with a notification.”
This means that even adults who are not followed by teens will no longer be able to send them messages. These changes will be automatically applied to all users under 16 and in certain regions, under 18. Meta has also promised to notify current users about these updates.
On Messenger, users will only receive messages from Facebook friends and individuals in their contacts list. This further restricts the potential for unwanted contact from strangers.
In addition, Meta is enhancing their parental controls by giving guardians the ability to approve or deny any changes in the default privacy settings made by teens. Previously, guardians would only receive a notification if their teen made changes, but now they can take action to block them.
“The company gave an example that if a teen user tries to make their account public from private, changes the Sensitive Content Control from “Less” to “Standard,” or attempts to change controls around who can DM them, guardians can block them.”
These enhanced controls will prevent teens from making their account public, changing the sensitivity of their content, or adjusting who can message them without parental approval.
This is not the first time Meta has focused on parental supervision. In 2022, they introduced tools for Instagram that give guardians insight into their teen’s usage.
Furthermore, Meta is working on a feature to block teens from receiving inappropriate or unwanted images in their DMs from people they are connected to. This feature will even apply to end-to-end encrypted chats, discouraging teens from sending or receiving harmful images.
It is unclear what specific actions Meta is taking to protect the privacy of teens while implementing these features, and they have not provided further details on what they define as “inappropriate” content.
Earlier this month, Meta also released new tools to prevent teens from viewing harmful content related to self-harm or eating disorders on both Facebook and Instagram.