Instagram to Begin Defaulting Accounts for New Users Under the Age of 16 to Private
“We still give young people the choice to switch to a public account or keep their current account public if they wish,” Instagram representatives said.
All Instagram users 16 years old and younger will now automatically be defaulted into a private profile when creating an Instagram account as the company strives to cultivate a “safer and private” app for everyone.
“Creating an experience on Instagram that’s safe and private for young people, but also fun comes with competing challenges,” representatives for Instagram announced in a blog post on Tuesday. “We want them to easily make new friends and keep up with their family, but we don’t want them to deal with unwanted DMs or comments from strangers. We think private accounts are the right choice for young people.”
A private account on Instagram indicates that only followers that the user manually approves can view their posts, reels, and stories. A follower that is not approved will not be able to comment on a private account or see the account’s content at all in hashtags or the explore section.
Prior to the announcement, all new accounts that were created on the app defaulted to a public profile regardless of the user’s age. The latest Instagram announcement will now make it so that any person under the age of 16 (or 18, in some countries) will automatically have a private profile, unless the user decides to change their account settings to public on their own.
“We still give young people the choice to switch to a public account or keep their current account public if they wish,” Instagram representatives added.
According to Instagram, they conducted a test and the results indicated that eight out of ten young people accepted the private default settings during sign-up.
“We asked young people to choose between a public account or a private account when they signed up for Instagram, but our recent research showed that they appreciate a more private experience,” said representatives for Instagram.
Minors who already have an account that is currently set to public will receive a notification from Instagram that explains the positives of having a private account, followed by step-by-step instructions on how to change their privacy settings in the app.
David Kleeman, senior vice president, Global Trends for Dubit, a kids' research and development agency that helps create products for global brands and startups, said, “defaulting accounts to private for under-16s encourages young people to develop comfort, confidence and capability as digital citizens during their younger years and help them develop habits to last a lifetime.”
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