Instagram unveiled a host of child safety measures and parental controls for its app just one day before chief executive Adam Mosseri is due to testify in Congress.
“At Instagram, we’ve been working for a long time to keep young people safe on the app,” Mosseri wrote in a blog post. “As part of that work, today we’re announcing some new tools and features to keep young people even safer on Instagram.”
The new features include controls allowing parents to set time limits for their kids’ use of Instagram, providing resources on how Instagram works and options allowing kids to notify parents if they report another user. Instagram will also launch its “Take A Break” feature, which asks users to take some time away from Instagram if they’ve been scrolling for a while.
“We’ll be taking a stricter approach to what we recommend to teens on the app,” Mosseri wrote, saying that the app will “start nudging teens towards different topics if they’ve been dwelling on one topic for a while.”
Instagram will also stop people from tagging underage users that don’t follow them, and it will recommend less potentially harmful content to teens in the Search, Explore, Hashtags and Suggested Accounts features. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Ken Buck Demands Zuckerberg Hand Over Research Into Instagram’s Effects On Eating Disorders, Child Exploitation)
The announcement comes just one day before Mosseri is slated to appear before the Senate Commerce Committee, which is conducting a series of hearings related to social media’s impact on children. The hearing will be the first time Mosseri has testified before Congress in his three-year tenure as head of Instagram.
“Meta is attempting to shift attention from their mistakes by rolling out parental guides, use timers, and content control features that consumers should have had all along,” Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn said in a statement shared with the Daily Caller News Foundation. “This is a hollow ‘product announcement’ in the dead of night that will do little to substantively make their products safer for kids and teens.”
Instagram has faced a torrent of criticism and congressional scrutiny following revelations that its parent company Meta, formerly known as Facebook, conducted research into Instagram’s effects on teen users and found that the image-sharing app negatively impacted users’ mental health. The backlash resulted in Meta suspending the development of its “Instagram Kids” product, which was intended to be a child-oriented version of the app geared towards kids under 13.
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