Instagram to allow teens to block messages from adults
Instagram is introducing new anti-grooming safety measures that will prevent adult users from sending direct messages to teenagers unless they follow them.
It follows criticism of Facebook over its actions on child grooming, with multiple international statements calling for the company to ensure that young people using its platforms were kept safe.
Of particular concern has been the company's plans to move all of its platforms to using end-to-end encryption, similar to WhatsApp. Critics allege this would disable Facebook's own internal monitoring of messages for potential grooming.
Instagram's policies require that all of its users are over 13. People who identify themselves as teenagers are encouraged to make their accounts private to accounts that aren't their friends - but this data is dependent on what the user reports.
The company said: "While many people are honest about their age, we know that young people can lie about their date of birth. We want to do more to stop this from happening, but verifying people's age online is complex and something many in our industry are grappling with.
"To address this challenge, we're developing new artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to help us keep teens safer and apply new age-appropriate features," including the restrictions on direct messaging.