Earlier this year, TikTok updated its privacy settings and defaults to further block the app for its teenage users. This morning, Instagram did the same with its teen-focused privacy updates. But the Facebook-owned social app didn't choose to add more privacy to teen accounts by default, as TikTok did; to a large extent, it made it more difficult for adults to interact with the app's teenage users.
The company said it is rolling out new security features that would restrict adult users from communicating with teens who have not yet followed them. The exception to this rule would still allow the teenager to interact with adult family members and other trusted adults on the platform, such as family friends. If an adult tried to text a teenager who did not follow them, they would receive a notification informing them that this was not possible.
And if the teen has already connected with an adult and is texting them, they will be notified if that adult displays suspicious behavior, such as sending a large number of friend requests or messages to users under the age of 18. This tool also then allows the adolescent to end the conversation, block, report, or restrain the adult from having further contact.
Additionally, Instagram said it will make it harder for adults to find and follow teens in other places within the Instagram app, including Explore, Reels, and more. This will include restricting adults from viewing teen accounts in the "Suggested Users" section of the app, as well as hiding their comments in public posts.
The company also noted that it is developing a new technology based on artificial intelligence and machine learning that would make it possible to find teenagers lying about their age in the application. This could result in the application of these functions, even if the teenager in question lied about his date of birth when registering in the application, but the technology is not yet fully active.
Other additions rolling out as part of today's updates include new parental safety resources in the app's Parent Guide and educational material for teens that will better explain what it means to have a public account on the app and encourage them to choose. private options.
The launch moment here is notable, as TikTok has recently focused on making its platform safer for teens, not only with changes to its default settings but also with the addition of parental controls last year. Last year, the company took the unusual step of including a parental control mechanism directly in its app that allows a parent to link to a child's TikTok account to control the privacy of their profile, which they can do on the site. application and even what they feed. I can see.
The company has continued to expand these controls after its launch, indicating that it considers these key features. By making privacy and parental controls a key part of the experience, The app is more likely to be blessed by parents who would otherwise restrict their teens' access to social media, and that helps TikTok increase its user base and the time teens spend on the app. , sometimes at the expense of Instagram.