From February 2023, advertisers will no longer be able to target teen Facebook and Instagram users by their gender. And similarly, users under the age of 18 will no longer be shown personalised ads, based on in-app activity or pages they like on Facebook etc.
This means that starting next month, advertisers will only be able to target these younger users by their age and location, so will definitely need to rethink their strategy, if users below the age of 18 are their primary target.
Changes to the default privacy settings for teens
This change is yet another way that Meta is trying to look after its younger users. For example, back in November of last year, it added stricter privacy settings by default for those under 16’s signing up (18 in some countries).
Also, Meta has recommended that younger users already using the platforms, manually apply the most private settings, such as:
- Who can see their friends list
- Who can see the people, Pages and lists they follow
- Who can see posts they’re tagged in
- Who is allowed to comment on their public posts
- Adding the option to review posts they’re tagged in before the post appears on their profile
It is now harder for teens to be contacted by adults they do not know
Meta is also trying to make it much harder for “suspicious adults” (people that have been reported or recently blocked by a young person) to be able to get in touch with these young people. It is trialling removing these adults from the ‘people you may know’ lists of young people and also removing the message button from teens’ accounts on Instagram, if they are ever viewed by someone that Meta deems to be dodgy.
Meta says, “we’re prompting teens to report accounts to us after they block someone, and sending them safety notices with information on how to navigate inappropriate messages from adults. In just one month in 2021, more than 100 million people saw safety notices on Messenger. We’ve also made it easier for people to find our reporting tools and, as a result, we saw more than a 70% increase in reports sent to us by minors in Q1 2022 versus the previous quarter on Messenger and Instagram DMs.”
Empowering victims to speak up
This isn’t all Meta is doing to help teens across its platforms as it is also trying to stop the spread of intimate images and educate users on the matter. Meta wants to reduce the stigma surrounding the subject and empower victims to get help by reporting their experiences.
Hopefully these new initiatives will help at least some teens across Facebook and Instagram. However, as parents we need to remember that even though these features are available, such as stricter privacy settings from set up, they can still be opted out of. Also those users already using social media have to manually update their settings, which many may ignore.
For more information on how Meta is trying to increase safety for teens and educate parents on how to monitor their children online, check out the latest Summit: https://vimeo.com/786621798