Home Technology Instagram now lets teens limit interactions to their ‘Close Friends’ group to combat harassment

Instagram now lets teens limit interactions to their ‘Close Friends’ group to combat harassment

by editor

In a bid to combat harassment on its platform, Instagram said on Thursday it is expanding the scope of its “Limits” tool specifically for teenagers that would let them restrict unwanted interactions with people. Once they turn the feature on, teens will only be able to see comments, messages, story replies, tags, and mentions from their “Close Friends” group, and interactions from other accounts will be muted.

The company originally debuted the Limits feature as a test in 2021 after English footballers Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford, and Jadon Sancho were harassed online following the English team’s loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 finals. Everyone can use Limits right now, though it only lets you restrict interactions with people you follow, in addition to long-standing followers.

The feature has now been tuned for teens with the “Close Friends” setting by default, and Instagram says it is specifically meant to protect people from bullying and harassment. Accounts that aren’t part of a person’s “Close Friends” group can still interact with them, but their activity won’t show up in the feed.

Alternatively, teens can limit interactions with recent followers — accounts that started following them in the past week or accounts that they don’t follow.

In addition, the company is adding new functionality to its “Restrict” feature that lets you limit interactions from specific accounts without blocking them. Instagram will hide all comments from restricted accounts, and they won’t be able to tag or mention you.

Earlier this year, Meta rolled out new restrictions preventing anyone over 18 from messaging teenagers who don’t follow them. In April, the company introduced a feature that would blur nudity in Instagram DMs for teens.

This is a “good faith” move by Meta, which has been facing scrutiny over teen safety in multiple regions. Last October, over 40 U.S. states sued Meta, alleging its product design impacts kids’ mental health. Earlier this month, the European Union opened an investigation against Facebook and Instagram over their addictive design and their negative impact on minors’ mental health.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2024/05/30/instagram-adds-a-teen-protection-tool-to-limit-interaction-to-close-friends/

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