Meta Faces Regulatory Pressure, Plans Tighter Content Restrictions for Teen

Web DeskJanuary 11, 20243094 min
Meta Faces Regulatory Pressure, Plans Tighter Content Restrictions for Teen

On Tuesday, Meta Platforms announced its decision to enhance content controls for teens on Instagram and Facebook, responding to global regulatory pressure urging the social media giant to safeguard children from harmful content on its platforms.

As part of the new measures, all teenagers will be automatically placed in the most restrictive content control settings on both Instagram and Facebook. Additionally, Meta will limit additional search terms on Instagram to make it more challenging for teens to encounter sensitive content related to issues like suicide, self-harm, and eating disorders when using features such as Search and Explore.

The company, facing scrutiny and legal challenges in the United States and Europe, stated that these changes, set to roll out in the coming weeks, aim to create a more “age-appropriate” experience for teens.

Also Read: Meta Introduces Video Editing Tools Powered by Artificial Intelligence

Meta is currently under investigation for allegations that its apps contribute to addiction and have exacerbated a youth mental health crisis. In October, attorneys general from 33 U.S. states, including California and New York, filed a lawsuit against Meta, accusing the company of repeatedly misleading the public about the risks associated with its platforms.

In Europe, the European Commission has sought information on Meta’s measures to protect children from illegal and harmful content. Regulatory scrutiny intensified following testimony in the U.S. Senate by a former Meta employee, Arturo Bejar, who claimed the company was aware of harassment and other harms facing teens on its platforms but failed to take adequate action.

Bejar, who previously called for design changes to promote positive behaviors and better tools for young users to manage unpleasant experiences, expressed dissatisfaction with Meta’s latest changes. He criticized the company for relying on “‘grade your own homework’ definitions of harm” and for not providing an easy way for teens to report unwanted advances.

The move by Meta reflects the ongoing competition with TikTok for younger users, as Facebook’s popularity among teens has waned. According to a 2023 Pew Research Center survey, 63% of U.S. teens reported using TikTok, 59% used Instagram, and only 33% used Facebook.

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