Meta has announced new privacy updates for better protection of people aged below 16 years on Facebook. These include stricter privacy controls that allow them to limit what people view on their profiles, hide tagged posts, as well as limit comments from non-friends.
Meta had earlier launched similar control settings on Instagram as well, where users aged below 16 years had their accounts automatically set to private.
Although these settings would practically not result in complete safety, they could still facilitate younger users in choosing who can interact with them, hence giving them more authority in managing their profiles and ensuring awareness for self-protection.
Additionally, Meta is testing another safety option that limits children’s exposure to adult-owned accounts that appear suspicious. Meta defines a ‘suspicious account’ as one that “may have recently been blocked or reported by a young person, for example.” These accounts will be prohibited from sending messages to younger users and will also be removed from their recommendations.
Moreover, Meta will be sending notifications to encourage users to enable the new privacy settings, in an attempt to spread awareness of these features. Users will also be prompted to report accounts that they block and will have access to new safety notices with information on what to do in case of receiving problematic or exploitative messages.
Lastly, Meta is also expanding its program dedicated to reducing sharing of intimate images, in collaboration with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).