How to Keep Teens Safe While Using Social Media Platforms

In light of recent events, we wanted to provide an update on the steps we’ve taken to keep teenagers safe on Facebook and Instagram.

Improvements to Reducing Unwanted Contact

We’ve been open about some of the precautions we take to keep our teenagers safe from harming adults in the past year. For instance, we limit the ability of adults to view minors in their People You May Know recommendations or send messages to unrelated teens.

In addition to our current safeguards, we are now investigating new approaches to prevent minors from being shown recommendations for people they may know who are adults who may be dangerous to them. Someone with a “suspicious” account is an adult who has recently been reported or banned by a minor. We are also experimenting with preventing suspected adults from seeing the message button on teenagers’ Instagram profiles.

Inviting Young People to Make Use of Our Safety Resources

We’re adding new alerts to encourage teenagers to utilise the many mechanisms we’ve created to report any inappropriate content they encounter in our applications.

We’re doing things like giving adolescents safety notifications with advice on how to handle improper messages from adults and pushing them to report accounts to us after they’ve blocked someone. More than 100 million individuals in 2021 viewed safety notifications on Messenger in only one month. We’ve also made it simpler for individuals to locate our reporting tools; as a result, the number of reports given to us by minors via Messenger and Instagram DMs increased your followers 70% in Q1 2022 compared to the previous quarter.

Facebook’s new privacy settings for teenagers

Starting today, Facebook will automatically establish more restrictive privacy settings for anybody under the age of 16 (or under the age of 18 in some countries), and we will urge teenagers already using the app to change their settings to reflect these new defaults.

Their Friends List Visibility Settings

Who may view their list of followers, pages they like, and posts in which they are mentioned
checking tagged posts before they show up on their profile
How many people can leave comments on their public postings.

Aligning with our safety-by-design and ‘Best Interests of the Child’ approach, this change follows our recent rollout of comparable privacy defaults for teenagers on Instagram.

Intimate Teen Photos: New Tools to Prevent Their Spread
We’re also providing an update on our efforts to curb sextortion, the practise of using sexually explicit photos of minors for sexual gain on the internet. Because thetraumatic effects of the non-consensual sharing of personal photographs, we want to do all in our power to prevent young people from sharing such images on our applications in the first place.

Together with the NCMEC, we’re developing a worldwide forum for young people who are concerned that private photos they’ve taken of themselves may be distributed without their knowledge or permission. Our efforts to curb the spread of sexually explicit photos of adults online will be mirrored on this platform. We can use it to help keep private photos of teens off the internet, and so can other firms in the computer sector. To assist kids recover control of their material in these horrible situations, we have been working closely with NCMEC, professionals, academics, parents, and victim advocates from across the world to design the platform and guarantee it answers to their requirements. In the upcoming weeks, we will have further information to provide about this new resource.

We’re collaborating with Thorn and its NoFiltr brand to provide resources that encourage young people to get treatment if they’ve shared personal photographs or are the victims of sextortion, and to reclaim their agency in such situations.

Seventy-five percent or more of those we reported to NCMEC for spreading child exploitation content did it out of indignation, poor humour, or disgust, and not with any malicious intent. Intention or not, sharing this material is against our rules. A new public service announcement campaign is in the works to urge internet users to pause and reflect before reposting such photographs and to instead file a report with us.

Our education and awareness resources, such as the Stop Sextortion section on the Facebook Safety Centre that we built with Thorn, are available to anybody looking for help or information about sextortion. On the Education section of our Family Centre, we provide a guidance for parents on how to conduct conversations with their children about sexually explicit pictures.