Instagram has announced that it is making accounts of under 16s private by default, as part of its drive to make the app “safe and private” for young users.
Until now, new Instagram users’ account was set as public, meaning anyone can see your profile and posts on Instagram.
In the future, however, under 16s will have their accounts set by default, meaning only their approved followers will see their photos or videos.
In a blog announcing the update, Instagram explained: “Where we can, we want to prevent young people from hearing from adults they don’t know or don’t want to hear from. We believe that private accounts are the best way to avoid this.”
Despite this update, Instagram owner Facebook has confirmed it is continuing with plans to launch new controversial apps targeting children under 13.
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Going forward, their accounts under 16 will be set by default, meaning only their approved followers can see their photos or videos
How to set your Instagram account to private
By default, anyone can see your profile and posts on Instagram. You can make your account private so that only followers you approve can see what you share.
If your account is set to private, only your approved followers will see your photos or videos on hashtag or location pages.
1. Open the Instagram app and tap your profile picture at the bottom right to go to your profile
2. Tap the three lines at the top right and then Settings
3. Tap Privacy
4. Tap next to Private account to make your account private
Instagram’s decision to make the accounts of young people under 16 private by default came after tests showed that most young people liked to use a private profile.
“Historically, we asked young people to choose between a public or private account when they signed up for Instagram, but our recent research showed that they value a more private experience,” explains Instagram.
“During testing, eight in ten teens accepted the private default settings when signing up.”
The change means new Instagram users will automatically set their account to private, while young people who already have a public account will see a notification highlighting the benefits of a private account.
“We will still give young people the choice to switch to a public account or keep their current account public if they want to,” Instagram added.
In addition, Instagram has developed new technology to find ‘potentially suspicious’ accounts and prevent them from coming into contact with young people.
“By ‘potentially suspicious behaviour’ we mean adult accounts that have been recently blocked or reported by a young person, for example,” Instagram explains.
Despite these changes to keep young people safe, Facebook has confirmed that it is making progress with plans to launch new apps targeting children under 13.
Speaking with the BBC, said a Facebook spokesperson: “The reality is they are already online and with no surefire way to stop people from misrepresenting their age, we want to build experiences designed just for them, managed by parents and guardians.”
Earlier this year, reports emerged suggesting that Instagram had been working on a spin-off version of the app designed for those currently too young to use the main platform.
The plans were widely criticized at the time over lingering concerns about social media’s impact on young people, but Instagram head Adam Mosseri said the idea, while not yet “full-fledged,” is about keeping kids safe online.
Facebook has confirmed that it is pursuing plans to launch new apps targeting children under 13 (stock image)
Mosseri admitted that the plan had “leaked early” and that it was “very early in the process.”
‘The idea is that it should be more responsible. In a world where kids under 13 want to use Instagram or platforms like Instagram, it’s very difficult to verify their age because they don’t have ID,” he said.
“It should be more responsible to give parents oversight and transparency than to let children lie about their age.
“That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do more age verification – there’s a lot to do there and we’re working with different governments around the world – but I do think that a product designed for under 13s that Instagram was that not, and where parents have control and transparency, that becomes an important part of a broader approach, but it will take some time.’
When asked about criticism of the idea, Mosseri said he believed the critics were “trying to do the right thing.”
“They are concerned about the safety of children, as are we,” he said.
‘I think that’s reasonable. I think there are things we can do to design a version of Instagram that is more secure, and I think we will.”
Instagram launches crackdown on fake accounts with new feature that gives users more information
Instagram has cracked down on fake accounts and introduced a new feature that shows users information about who is really behind a username.
The photo-sharing app’s more than 1 billion users will now be able to evaluate the authenticity of accounts, weeks after parent Facebook rolled out similar measures in an effort to remove fake accounts on its social media platform.
The “About This Account” feature allows users to see which ads an account has, the country where the account is located, username changes in the last year, and other details.
For more information about an account, go to their profile, tap the menu… and select “About this account.”
There you’ll see the date the account joined Instagram, the country where the account is located, accounts with shared followers, any username changes in the past year, and any ads the account is currently showing.
Instagram also plans to significantly increase the number of verified accounts for public figures, celebrities and global brands.
Along with the account username, applicants must provide full real names and a copy of legal or business identification.
Instagram also said it will allow the use of third-party apps such as DUO Mobile and Google Authenticator for two-factor authentication to help users sign in to their accounts securely.