Meta plans to limit unwanted interactions for teens, letting them stay in their own age bubbles if they choose to do so, and giving them new ways to report inappropriate and uncomfortable behaviors from other users. The company announced that it’s testing ways to make sure that teens don’t engage in conversation with “suspicious adults they aren’t connected to.” The term “suspicious” is being used throughout the announcement, and Meta defines it as such: “A ‘suspicious’ account is one that belongs to an adult that may have recently been blocked or reported by a young person.” In the cases where those accounts are involved, it seems that Meta will either block or discourage teens from starting conversations with such adults.
New privacy settings are also being introduced on Facebook. Every user under 16 (or 18 in some countries, as mentioned above) will now have tightened privacy settings from the moment they sign up for Facebook. Those who already have a profile will be encouraged to improve their privacy settings. Similar privacy defaults are already in place on Instagram. Meta is also encouraging teenagers to take advantage of its enhanced safety and reporting tools — if anyone makes such young users uncomfortable, Meta wants to make it easier for kids to report and block the culprits.
Lastly, Meta is working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in order to limit the spreading of teens’ intimate images. Recognizing the trauma associated with having such pictures non-consensually shared, Meta says that the new platform, still a work in progress, will “allow [Meta] to help prevent a teen’s intimate images from being posted online and can be used by other companies across the tech industry.” Meta says it will be able to share more about this project in the next few weeks.