Meta unveils new updates to protect teens on Facebook and Instagram

Tech giant Meta has rolled out new updates on Facebook and Instagram that make it harder for potentially suspicious adults to interact with teens.

The move follows Instagram’s adoption of similar privacy standards for teens and is consistent with its safety-by-design and Best Interest of the Child framework.

“Last year we shared some of the measures we are taking to protect teenagers from interacting with potentially suspicious adults. For example, we restrict adults from messaging teens they aren’t affiliated with or seeing teens in their People You May Know recommendations,” Meta said.

protect youth

“In addition to our existing measures, Meta is now testing ways to protect teens from notifying suspicious adults with whom they are not connected and we will not be showing them in teens’ recommendations on People You May Know.”

“A “suspicious” account is an account owned by an adult that may have been recently suspended or reported by a youth. As an added safeguard, we are also testing removing the message button on teens’ Instagram accounts when viewed by suspicious adults overall.”

protection tools

“We’ve developed a number of tools so teens can let us know when they’re uncomfortable using our apps, and we’re introducing new notifications to encourage them to use these tools,” it said.

Now everyone under the age of 16 (or under 18 in certain countries) will default to more private settings when they join Facebook.

Meta encouraged teens who are already on the app to choose these more private settings for:

  • Who can see their friends list?
  • Who can see the people, Pages, and lists they follow?
  • Who can see posts they’re tagged in on their profile?
  • Review posts they’re tagged in before the post appears on their profile
  • Who can comment on their public posts


Meta also shared an update on the work it is doing to stop the proliferation of teenage intimate images online, particularly when those images are being used to exploit them — commonly known as “sextortion.”

“The non-consensual sharing of intimate images can be extremely traumatic, and we want to do everything we can to discourage teens from even sharing these images on our apps.

“We are working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to build a global platform for teens who fear intimate images they have created may be shared on public online platforms without their consent.”

Sharing intimate images

“This platform will be similar to the work we have been doing to prevent the non-consensual sharing of adult intimate images. This allows us to prevent a teenager’s intimate images from being posted online and can be used by other companies throughout the technology industry.

We also work with Thorn and her brand NoFiltr to create educational materials that reduce shame and stigma around intimate images and empower teens to seek help and take back control when they’ve shared or are experiencing sextortion ‘ said Meta.

Meta adding that it plans to launch a new campaign encouraging people to stop and think before sharing lurid images online and report it to them instead.

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