Meta takes a firm stance and announces new guidelines for minors using Facebook and Instagram.

Social Media Plug-ins:

The social media platform Meta has unveiled new features targeted at restricting how teens receive messages on Facebook and Instagram. Meta said the new measures are being rolled out to build on its earlier policy restricting people over 19 from messaging teens who are not following them.

The policy, which took off some days ago, is now turning off teens’ ability to receive DMs from anyone they do not follow or are not connected to on Instagram, including other teens by default.

Additionally, Meta is also making its parental controls more robust by allowing guardians to allow or deny changes in default privacy settings made by teens. Previously, when teens changed these settings, guardians got a notification, but they couldn’t take any action on them.

Announcing the new features to protect teens on its social media platforms some days ago, Meta said: “To help protect teens from unwanted contact on Instagram, we restrict adults over the age of 19 from messaging teens who don’t follow them, and we limit the type and number of direct messages (DMs) people can send to someone who doesn’t follow them to one text-only message.

“Today we’re announcing an additional step to help protect teens from unwanted contact by turning off their ability to receive DMs from anyone they don’t follow or aren’t connected to on Instagram—including other teens—by default.

“Under this new default setting, teens can only be messaged or added to group chats by people they already follow or are connected to, helping teens and their parents feel even more confident that they won’t hear from people they don’t know in their DMs.

“This default setting will apply to all teens under the age of 16 (or under 18 in certain countries). Those already on Instagram will see a notification at the top of their Feed letting them know we’re making these changes to their message settings.”

Meta, owned by Mark Zukerberg, added that it is also making these changes to teens’ default settings on Messenger, where under 16s (or under 18 in certain countries) will only receive messages from Facebook friends or people they’re connected to through phone contacts, for example.

Recall that Meta first launched parental supervision on Instagram in March 2022 and since then has continued to add new features to help involve parents more in their teens’ online experiences.

These include the ability for parents to set time limits and schedule breaks, to understand when their teen blocks or shares that they have reported someone, and to be notified when their teen changes their settings. The company is now adding more features.