June 15, 2022 – Meta has announced that it is rolling out measures to boost the safety of young users on Instagram, one of the company’s leading image-based social media platforms.
Parents and guardians will now be able to set time limits on children’s scrolling on Instagram, according to Meta. If young users are spending too much time on similar content, they would see nudges encouraging them to explore other subjects as well.
“It is crucial for us to develop tools that respect the privacy and autonomy of young people while involving parents in the experience,” said Meta’s Public Policy Manager Clotilde Briend during a media briefing.
Social media platforms have repeatedly been called out for not prioritising the safety of young users. In 2021, Meta, then known as Facebook, was subjected to intense media scrutiny after a former employee, Frances Haugen, leaked a cache of internal documents detailing the questionable inner workings at Meta.
Meta was accused of placing profit over public good and the documents revealed how Instagram was found to be harming the mental wellbeing of young people, especially teenage girls, in the studies commissioned by Meta itself. The company also internally debated removing the “Like” button as it caused “stress and anxiety” among users.
Last week, video-sharing application TikTok also announced introducing nudges to remind younger users to take a break from scrolling.