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Instagram further restricts content for new accounts under 16

Months after expanding its Sensitive Content Control feature, Instagram has recently announced further updates to it that are focused on the privacy and safety of its teen users.

On Thursday, Instagram published an updated version of its June 6 Sensitive Content Control expansion blog post announcement. In the updated version, the popular photo- and video-sharing app detailed additional measures it would take to protect its younger users. These measures include defaulting the accounts of new teen users to the “Less” Sensitive Content Control option, sending other teens prompts that recommend that they choose the “Less” option, and experimental prompts that nudge teen users to review and update their privacy and safety settings.

Three mobile screenshots showing Instagram's Sensitive Content Control settings.
Instagram/Meta

If you’re not familiar, Instagram’s Sensitive Content Control settings allow users (teens and adults) to set content restrictions that filter out sensitive content (topics like drugs or firearms) in places like Instagram’s search results or recommended content. Setting these restrictions doesn’t filter out content from accounts you follow, however. Adult users can choose from three content filter options: More, Standard, or Less. More allows more sensitive content to come through, Standard allows some sensitive content, and Less allows the least amount of sensitive content out of the three options offered.

According to Instagram’s announcement, teen users generally only have access to the Standard and Less options. And now, the accounts of new users who are under the age of 16 will automatically be set to the Less option. Teens with Instagram accounts that existed prior to this change will be sent a prompt suggesting they choose the Less option for their own accounts.

Instagram is also testing a new kind of prompt for teen users that recommends that they review and update their privacy and safety settings. When updating them, teen users can adjust settings that govern the resharing of their content, messaging, the content they view, and management of the time they spend on the app.

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