Instagram makes under-16’s accounts private by default to protect the minors.

July 28, 2021 | 2 minutes read

Instagram to ensure online protection of the under 16’s has made the accounts private by default. The age checker app has been introduced to abide by the upcoming Online Safety Bill. 

Tests show that 1 out of 5 opt for a public account when the private setting was set by default, they commented. Also, the existing account holders will be informed with a notification “highlighting the benefits” of switching to a private account. 

Instagram is also introducing new apps for under 13’s despite getting backlash for it from some groups. 

“The reality is that they are already online and, with no foolproof way to stop people from misrepresenting their age, we want to build experiences designed specifically for them, managed by parents and guardians,” parent company Facebook said.

It is in the process of developing artificial intelligence systems to identify underage accounts. The step is taken to comply with the upcoming Online Safety Bill that places the onus of responsibility on the tech giants to ensure that children don’t approach harmful content online. 

In March, Instagram announced that older users will only be able to message teenagers to already followed them. This is to ensure that teenagers don’t fall prey to adults online. The problem is that Instagram works by identifying the age of the user, something the younger user can lie about to avoid the restrictions in place. 

Instagram responded that its latest updates are in an attempt to strike the right balance. 

“Historically, we asked young people to choose between a public account or a private account when they signed up for Instagram but our recent research showed that they appreciate a more private experience,” the company said.

While commenting on some of the optout features and targeted ads, Instagram commented: “We have heard from youth advocates that young people may not be well equipped to make these decisions.”