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Instagram makes accounts for users under 16 private by default

Instagram said it is rolling out these changes in the US, Australia, France, the UK and Japan to start and will look to expand to more countries soon

IANS | New Delhi |

In a bid to give young users more safer, private experience on its platform, Instagram on Tuesday made it hard for potentially suspicious accounts to find young people and limiting the options advertisers have to reach young people with ads, along with defaulting people under 16 into private accounts.

Instagram said it is rolling out these changes in the US, Australia, France, the UK and Japan to start and will look to expand to more countries soon.

Starting this week, everyone who is under 16 years old (or under 18 in certain countries) will be defaulted into a private account when they join Instagram.

“We want young people to enjoy using Instagram while making sure we never compromise on their privacy and safety. We want to strike the right balance of giving young people all the things they love about Instagram while also keeping them safe,” said Karina Newton, Public Policy Director, Instagram.

“If you have a private account, people have to follow you to see your posts, Stories and Reels. People also can’t comment on your content in those places, and they won’t see your content at all in places like Explore or hashtags,” the company said in a blog post.

For young people who already have a public account on Instagram, Instagram will show them a notification highlighting the benefits of a private account and explaining how to change their privacy settings.

“We’ll still give young people the choice to switch to a public account or keep their current account public if they wish”.

The company said it has developed new technology that finds accounts that have shown potentially suspicious behaviour and stop those accounts from interacting with young people’s accounts.

“Using this technology, now we won’t show young people’s accounts in Explore, Reels or ‘Accounts Suggested For You’ to these adults. If they find young people’s accounts by searching for their usernames, they won’t be able to follow them,” said Instagram.

Instagram also made changes to how advertisers can reach young people with ads.

Starting in a few weeks, the company would only allow advertisers to target ads to people under 18 (or older in certain countries) based on their age, gender and location.