Facebook has announced plans to alter the advertising and privacy policies of photo and video-sharing app Instagram, which it acquired back in 2012.
The social media giant intends to keep young users safe by setting the default to private for new profiles made by kids under the age of 16, Those with existing public accounts will receive notifications about how to change their settings.
Instagram will also tighten its control over the ads that teenagers see, and add features to protect children from so-called “unwanted contact” with adults who have exhibited “potentially suspicious behavior,” according to NPR.
“We want to keep young people safe, we want to give them good experiences, and we want to help teach them, as they use our platforms, to develop healthy and quality habits when they’re using the Internet and apps and social media,” said Instagram’s head of public policy Karina Newton.
The move comes amid growing concerns from child safety experts, parents, and lawmakers, who worry about the negative effects of social media on children’s mental health.
In May, 44 attorneys penned a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg imploring him not to move forward with the rollout of an Instagram specifically aimed at kids 13 and younger, according to The New York Times. However, the company confirmed its plan to do so in a blog post this week.
Facebook describes Instagram Youth as a wholly “new Instagram experience for tweens,” and says it will use artificial intelligence to try to verify users’ ages.