Instagram Restricts DMs between teens and adults they don’t follow

To protect teens from unwanted contact from adults, Instagram is introducing a new feature that prevents adults from sending messages to people under 18 who don’t follow them.

For example, when an adult tries to message a teen who doesn’t follow them, they receive a notification that DM’ing them isn’t an option.

This feature relies on Instagram’s work to predict peoples’ ages using machine learning technology, and the age people give the platform when they sign up.

As Instagram moves to end-to-end encryption, It’s investing in features that protect privacy and keep people safe without accessing the content of DMs.

Around the world it’s widely understood that most social media platforms require a 13-year minimum age requirement, but the complexity of age verification remains a long-standing, industry-wide challenge. That’s why it’s positive to see Instagram investing in innovative technologies that can and will create a safer online environment for younger users. By using machine learning to flag potentially inappropriate interactions, improving teen privacy features and DM-ing younger users with realtime safety info, Instagram is equipping young people with tools to be the architects of their own online experience.”

Says Lucy Thomas, Co-Founder / Co-CEO, PROJECT ROCKIT.

In addition to preventing conversations between adults and teens who don’t follow one another, Instagram will start using prompts — or safety notices — to encourage teens to be cautious in conversations with adults they’re already connected to.

Safety notices in DMs will notify young people when an adult who has been exhibiting potentially suspicious behavior is interacting with them in DMs.

For example, if an adult is sending a large amount of friend or message requests to people under 18, Instagram will use this tool to alert the recipients within their DMs and give them an option to end the conversation, or block, report, or restrict the adult.

People will start seeing these in some countries this month, Instagram hopes to have them available everywhere soon.

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