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Instagram will warn kids if they consume too much ‘sensitive’ content

It will also introduce "take a break feature"

Instagram will warn kids if they consume too much ‘sensitive’ content
Ivan Mehta
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Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

After accusations of ignoring mental health impact on teens using Instagram, Facebook will roll out new measures to make amends. These measures include warnings for consuming too much harmful content, parental control on content, and a “take a break” prompt.

Speaking on CNN’s State of Union show last night, Nick Clegg, Facebook’s VP of global affairs, said the nudge feature will warn teens looking at harmful content repeatedly:

We’re going to introduce something which I think will make a considerable difference, which is where our systems see that the teenager is looking at the same content over and over again and it’s content which may not be conducive to their well-being, we will nudge them to look at other content

Clegg also said that Instagram is also working on new parental controls, so adults can supervise the content teens are looking at.

He added that the company will also add a ‘take a break’ feature to encourage teens to not use Instagram for a while. He didn’t provide any detail on when this warning will be triggered. YouTube also has a similar feature, but you have to turn it on manually, and it’s up to you to set a time limit.

While these are some features the company is looking to introduce in the future, it has launched some notable teen safety-related measures in the past few months. In March, it put machine learning to work for stopping unknown adults from messaging teens. Plus, in July, it put restrictions on the type of ads served to kids.

After Clegg’s announcements, Democrat Senator Amy Klobuchar told CNN that she’s “tired of hearing ‘trust us,’ and it’s time to protect moms and dads that have been struggling with their kids getting addicted to the platform and been exposed to all kinds of bad stuff.”

Over the next couple of months, the company will try and convince people about how it cares about teens with new studies and features. However, it won’t be easy given Facebook’s history and recent documents uncovering its lax attitude towards users’ mental health.

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