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Instagram Update: 16-year-olds will now by default have a private account when they sign up

Instagram says a research study it carried out suggested that eight out of ten young people accepted the private default settings during sign-up.

July 27, 2021 / 10:08 PM IST
New Instagram Update defaults 16 year olds account as private when they sign up. (Image: Instagram)

New Instagram Update defaults 16 year olds account as private when they sign up. (Image: Instagram)

In a bid to make Instagram safer for youngsters who use the platform, the social media app is rolling out a set of new features that will 'give them all the things they love about Instagram while keeping them safe'.

In a blog post dated July 27, the app announced three major changes- default private accounts for people under 16, limiting potential suspicious accounts for young people and limiting the options advertisers have to reach young people with ads.

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Starting this week, everyone who is under 16 years old, or under 18 in certain countries, will be defaulted into a private account when they join Instagram. Earlier, these people were given the choice between a private or a public account when they signed up.

A private account on Instagram has much less exposure as compared to a public account. Private accounts let people control who sees or responds to their content.  To engage with content like posts, stories or reels on a private account, the person needs to be a follower of the account, a decision that lies with the account owner. Private accounts also don't show up in the explore section and under hashtags as well.


The reason for this decision, Instagram says is a research study it carried out which suggested that eight out of ten young people accepted the private default settings during sign-up.

However, Instagram, keeping in mind young content creators who would wish to widen their audience, will still be giving a choice to people to switch public account if they wish.

"For young people who already have a public account on Instagram, we’ll show them a notification highlighting the benefits of a private account and explaining how to change their privacy settings. We’ll still give young people the choice to switch to a public account or keep their current account public if they wish", read the post.

Other than this, Instagram has also developed a technology that will limit any young person's interaction with 'potentially suspicious behaviour'.

'Potentially suspicious behaviour' means accounts belonging to adults that may have recently been blocked or reported by a young person for example.

"Using this technology, now we won’t show young people’s accounts in Explore, Reels or ‘Accounts Suggested For You’ to these adults. If they find young people’s accounts by searching for their usernames, they won’t be able to follow them. They also won’t be able to see comments from young people on other people’s posts, nor will they be able to leave comments on young people’s posts. We’ll continue to look for additional places where we can apply this technology", said Instagram.

Finally, Instagram is also limiting advertiser's options in targeting the younger audience. Advertisers will now be able to target ads to people under 18 (or older in certain countries) based on their age, gender and location.

This means that previously available targeting options, like those based on interests or on their activity on other apps and websites, will no longer be available to advertisers. These changes will be global and apply to Instagram, Facebook and Messenger.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jul 27, 2021 10:07 pm
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