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Facebook, Instagram under growing pressure to protect teens

Posted at 10:10 AM, Jul 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-30 11:10:06-04

CENTRAL TEXAS — Do you know what your child is doing online?

Members of Congress are calling for better protections for teens on social media.

What is Facebook doing now to respond to that?

"They will automatically be defaulted to have a private account," Facebook Head of Public Policy Erica Woods told 25 News.

Instagram is rolling out a new safety feature this week for users under 16.

"Anything that they post will only be accessible to people who they friend on the platform," Woods revealed.

Existing users under 16 will get an alert reminding them to change their profile to private.

One of the big things that parents are worried about is a stranger reaching out on social media and contacting their kids.

"We certainly want parents to know we are constantly monitoring account settings and privacy and interactions on the platform," Woods said.

The company is also limiting the options advertisers have, to reach young people with advertisements on Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger.

"We want to make sure that we are only giving limited information for those under the age of 16 so those advertisements can only be appropriate for that age group," Woods explained, confirming the company will give advertisers access to a teen's location, age, and gender if they're under 16.

The changes also feature a new technology that allows the company to find accounts that have shown potentially suspicious behavior and stop those accounts from interacting with young people’s accounts.

A teen's account will not pop up in a search within Instagram or in the pages suggested for you section.

For more privacy tools for parents, head to Facebook.