To help you control what appears in your feed and turn off notifications, Instagram on Thursday unveiled a new set of tools. In response to internal documents shared by former Meta employee Frances Haugen, Instagram has made changes that allow users to hide posts that contain any keywords they choose (such as “fitness” or “diets”). This change attempts to allay policymakers’ concerns about the platform’s effect on teenagers.
The updated options include Quiet mode, which enables users to create a personalised timetable for turning off Instagram notifications and responding automatically to direct messages (DMs). When teenagers use the app for a “specified length of time” at night, it immediately reminds them to activate the quiet mode.
Instagram first introduced parental controls in 2021, but the service is now taking measures to expand those restrictions and give parents more visibility into their kids’ Instagram usage. Users will soon be able to exclude posts with particular words in their captions or hashtags. Using the new filtering feature, users will be able to tune their feeds more than before. Instagram users could already filter out DMs with a custom list of potentially hazardous or objectionable information.
According to a 2021 Wall Street Journal article, Facebook’s research revealed that its products significantly negatively affected a relatively small number of teen users. Later, Haugen identified herself as the person who provided the Journal with the materials.
According to research, “32% of teen girls stated that the Meta app Instagram does make them feel worse when they felt lousy about their bodies.” According to the study, 13% of British and 6% of American users linked the issue to Instagram among youths who reported having suicidal thoughts. Instagram’s head of public policy at the time stated in a blog post that the company stands by the research, which they claimed indicates “mixed” results about whether social media is beneficial or detrimental to users, despite the fact that the piece highlighted “a narrow set of data.” The corporation said it was tackling “negative social comparison and bad body image” to reduce unwanted consequences.
As part of a push to update its brand with an emphasis on virtual reality and the metaverse, Facebook changed its name to Meta in 2021. Congressmen and state legislators concentrate more on safeguarding children’s safety online by putting additional demands on platforms. California recently passed the Age-Appropriate Design Code, which obliges platforms to take into account how their services can endanger kids and compels them to switch on the strictest privacy settings by default, despite the fact that changes have not yet been codified at the federal level. Tech industry organisation NetChoice is suing the state on behalf of kids, claiming that the rule violates their First Amendment rights and prevents them from accessing crucial information. The first countries where quiet mode will be accessible are the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.