Meta Announces New Protections to Safeguard Teens from Harmful Content Online

Meta Announces New Protections to Safeguard Teens from Harmful Content Online

Meta has announced new content policies to protect teens from seeing certain types of harmful content across Facebook and Instagram.

The latest changes will help to ensure teens are protected from harmful content by placing all under 18’s into the most restrictive content control settings categories on Instagram and Facebook, alongside restricting additional search terms on Instagram.

These changes aim to make it harder for young people to view sensitive content across the apps, with Meta having a specific focus on removing self-harm and suicide content from young people’s experiences. Meta announced their decision in their latest blog post:

“While we allow people to share content discussing their own struggles with suicide, self-harm and eating disorders, our policy is not to recommend this content and we have been focused on ways to make it harder to find. Now, when people search for terms related to suicide, self-harm and eating disorders, we’ll start hiding these related results and will direct them to expert resources for help.”

What will change?

In a series of policy changes, Meta has announced that the following will take effect across Facebook and Instagram within the coming months.

  • More restricted content recommendations for teens.
  • Hiding age-inappropriate content from teens.

Meta’s latest update will ensure that all teens are placed on the most restrictive content control settings while restricting additional search terms on Instagram to protect them from harmful and age-inappropriate content.

Currently, these settings are already being provided for new teens who have signed up for Facebook and Instagram, and the new update will notify all existing teen users of the change. Alongside this, teens will begin being prompted with new notifications to update their settings and increase their privacy across Instagram, with Meta stating that:

“If teens choose to “Turn on recommended settings”, we will automatically change their settings to restrict who can repost their content, tag or mention them, or include their content in Reels Remixes. We’ll also ensure only their followers can message them and help hide offensive comments.”

For more information about how to update privacy settings across Facebook and Instagram, SWGfL’s Social Media Checklists provide step-by-step guides that can help to keep social media accounts safe and secure. We’ve recently launched our 2024 Facebook checklist, which you download from our website.

Instagram Search Updates

Alongside this, Instagram Search is also being updated so that new search terms relating to suicide, self-harm and eating disorders will be hidden from related results and will now direct to resources to access help and support. This is in addition to Instagram’s previous work to hide results for suicide and self-harm search terms that break their rules.

Accessing Support

The latest updates by Meta are a positive step towards strengthening the efforts to protect young people and adults from harmful content online. Anyone in the UK over the age of 13 who has seen harmful content online can use Report Harmful Content, a national service operated by SWGfL, to help report content across many of the largest social media platforms. You can also use it to find out more about additional support available to anyone who has been affected by harmful content.

Visit Report Harmful Content

Back to Magazine

Related Articles