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Facebook announced changes to Instagram to protect young people on the platform

New measures to protect minors

Enrique R
Enrique R
6 min read

Instagram belongs to the giant Facebook Inc., from where new measures have just been announced to protect minors with profiles on the network, changes such as notifying them when they must rest from the session are included.

Facebook's vice president of Global Affairs, Nick Glegg, was in charge of explaining these changes, which come at a time when the company has recorded losses due to drops of its Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp networks, in addition to accusations of former employees about negligence about consequences of the use of the platform in the youngest.

Facebook announced changes to Instagram to protect young people on the platform

The launch of Instagram Kids was suspended

From Facebook, it was announced for the month of September 2021 the launch of a network for children, Instagram Kids, whose characteristics were specifically aimed at children between 10 and 12 years old.

These measures are probably due to "cleaning up" the platform before thinking about launching a version for children, as well as offering a response in practice to criticism for the damage that social networks cause to young people.

The most weighty recent criticism against the Instagram network came from the well-known medium The Wall Street Journal, where a study was published that indicated a high percentage of girls (more than 30%), assures that when entering the platform they feel bad about their bodies and, if they already have problems with their self-image, Instagram makes them worse. Something that the company immediately denied.

For years, Instagram has been seen by many people as a network that stimulates narcissism and materialism, where there are more people sharing photos of well-arranged plates of food, than images of the whole family gathered around the table.

The focus on showing the physical and material over relationships has driven these claims.

In addition, its characteristics have made it a platform widely used by those who work or are connected with the world of fashion, modeling and artists in general, as well as entertainment media.

Facebook announced changes to Instagram to protect young people on the platform

Keeping young people away from unhealthy content on Instagram

This change, which should be made at the algorithm level, focuses on taking immediate action when young people are viewing posts or content that may be harmful to their health.

The idea is that the algorithm shows "healthier" publications, thus forcing a redirection of the attention of minors.

The company experienced a drop of almost 20% of active young users in recent years, something worrying about a company that depends on the connection and activity of people on the platform, as well as the growth of users from an early age.

It is possible that the alternative platforms with the highest growth and features that attract hundreds of millions of users, such as Telegram and TikTok have to do with the decline in young users, so we may see the great competition between giants grow in the coming years. Of social networks.

All focused on generating a lot of activity and guaranteeing stability, an area where Telegram and TikTok have a lot of advantage over Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Facebook announced changes to Instagram to protect young people on the platform

Suspending the launch of Instagram Kids corresponds to another of the measures, according to the statements of the Vice President of Global Affairs of Facebook, the suspension of this project focused on children, is already a step by the company to take more care of its users of younger age.

Instagram will send notification for necessary breaks of its users

The third and most relevant measure, because it aims to avoid addiction with direct notices, is a notification that will "trigger" when the user has spent too much time connected on the platform.

This would be defined by the activity and duration of the connection session, informing users that they should take a break for their health.

This last measure, which could be beneficial even for profiles of all ages, will be activated only for minors, always taking into account the research published by The Wall Street Journal, where they point to that sector as the most affected by addiction to the platform and the self-esteem problems that this generates.

This change in particular, goes in contradiction with the indications of many studies on the approach of algorithms in social networks, which are supposed to be aimed at generating more and more addiction in users, forming a kind of "tube", where those who follow a certain topic will be exposed to viral publications of the same, including some controversial content to generate a response.

However, something like an ad to take a break from connecting would be the closest thing to an answer to addiction we've seen from the Facebook networking conglomerate.

Facebook announced changes to Instagram to protect young people on the platform

Concern for youth or competition?

The changes announced from Facebook's senior management are necessary, beneficial for the young users targeted by the measures, but they are taken at a time when the company's networks have experienced global drops, which has affected user activity and above all, confidence in the stability of its platforms.

The rumors about the data leakage of millions of users do not help Facebook either, which seems to be taking measures in that sense as well, trying to regain confidence in the public, more with the competition from TikTok that does not stop growing and that by adding users of the Chinese version, it would be the fastest growing network in the world.

On the other hand, there is Telegram, which, being an alternative, is more and more an option for people who when they know it, fall in love with the stability and functions it offers.

Finally, but it is essential to understand it: No measure or changes in the algorithm in any social network, can replace the attention and vigilance of the parents of the content and actions on the platform of minors in the family.

There are many strategies to monitor and ensure that the publications, content shared or commented on by minors is appropriate and without that attention from parents or representatives, little results can be obtained from changes from companies.