Meta aims to hide suicide, eating disorders content from teens on Instagram and Facebook

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Meta announced on Tuesday that it will hide various content from teenagers on Instagram and Facebook — specifically content that talks about suicide, self-harm, and eating disorders, according to the Associated Press.

The development comes as Meta claims that it wants to make more “age-appropriate” content for those who use their platforms. Now, content that talks about sensitive topics will no longer appear in their timeline, even if it was shared by someone they follow.

In a recent blog post, Meta described three new initiatives that they plan to implement.

They are as follows: “We will start to hide more types of content for teens on Instagram and Facebook, in line with expert guidance; we’re automatically placing all teens into the most restrictive content control settings on Instagram and Facebook and restricting additional terms in Search on Instagram; [and] we’re also prompting teens to update their privacy settings on Instagram in a single tap with new notifications.”

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The post went on to say that “[w]e want teens to have safe, age-appropriate experiences on our apps.”

However, it is common for teenagers not to use their actual age when they sign up for social media platforms. It is not clear how Meta intends to tackle this issue.

“Take the example of someone posting about their ongoing struggle with thoughts of self-harm. This is an important story, and can help destigmatize these issues, but it’s a complex topic and isn’t necessarily suitable for all young people,” Meta said.

“Now, we’ll start to remove this type of content from teens’ experiences on Instagram and Facebook, as well as other types of age-inappropriate content.”

The recent policy updates come as the social media juggernaut is facing lawsuits in several U.S. states that have accused it of deliberately designing features on Instagram and Facebook that make children addicted. As a result, the social media platform has allegedly contributed to the mental health crisis that has spread across the country.

“To help make sure teens are regularly checking their safety and privacy settings on Instagram, and are aware of the more private settings available, we’re sending new notifications encouraging them to update their settings to a more private experience with a single tap,” Meta said.

“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.”

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