INSTAGRAM will soon start using artificial intelligence to stop adults messaging teenagers that don’t follow them.
Safety warnings will also appear on the screens of teenagers if they’re suspected of messaging ‘suspicious’ adults on the app.
Teens will be encouraged not to reply to ‘suspicious adults’Credit: Alamy
The move aims to make the platform safer for younger users and protect them from predators and paedophiles.
When a teen sees a safety prompt that says an adult is “exhibiting potentially suspicious behavior”, they’ll be given the chance to report or block them.
This behaviour could be trying to add or contact lots of young users.
The prompts also tell young users they don’t have to respond.
New prompts will appear if a young person is speaking to an adult that is exhibiting behaviour Instagram doesn’t likeCredit: Instagram
It will warn teens to “be careful sharing photos, videos, or information with someone you don’t know.”
Instagram is using AI to monitor what it thinks is suspicious adult behaviour but hasn’t explained exactly how its system operates.
Machine learning technology will also be used to determine someone’s age even if they lied when they set up the account.
Users are supposed to be 13 or older on Instagram.
Teenagers who sign up for the app will be encouraged to make their profile private.
Instagram explained on a blogpost: “To protect teens from unwanted contact from adults, we’re introducing a new feature that prevents adults from sending messages to people under 18 who don’t follow them.
“For example, when an adult tries to message a teen who doesn’t follow them, they receive a notification that DM’ing them isn’t an option.
“This feature relies on our work to predict peoples’ ages using machine learning technology, and the age people give us when they sign up.
An adult trying to message a teenager that isn’t following them back will see a message that says “You can’t message this account unless they follow you”Credit: Instagram
“As we move to end-to-end encryption, we’re investing in features that protect privacy and keep people safe without accessing the content of DMs.”
It also explained it would be making it more difficult for “suspicious” adults to find teen content.
The blogpost states: “In the coming weeks, we’ll start exploring ways to make it more difficult for adults who have been exhibiting potentially suspicious behavior to interact with teens.
“This may include things like restricting these adults from seeing teen accounts in ‘Suggested Users’, preventing them from discovering teen content in Reels or Explore, and automatically hiding their comments on public posts by teens.”
Instagram hopes to roll its new protective features out globally soon.
Instagram – the key facts
Here’s what you need to know…
- Instagram is a social network for sharing photos and videos
- It was created back in October 2010 as an iPhone-exclusive app
- A separate version for Android devices was released 18 months later
- The app rose to popularity thanks to its filters system, which lets you quickly edit your photos with cool effects
- When it first launched, users could only post square 1:1 ratio images, but that rule was changed in 2015
- In 2012, Facebook bought Instagram for $1billion in cash and stock
- In 2018, some analysts believe the app is worth closer to $100billion
- In October 2015, Instagram confirmed that more than 40billion photos had been uploaded to the app
- And in 2018, Instagram revealed that more than a billion people were using the app every month
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What do you think of Instagram’s new message ban? Let us know in the comments…
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