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Meta Shields Teens: Hides Suicide, Eating Disorder Posts on Instagram and Facebook

In a bid to create a safer online environment for teenagers, Meta has announced that it will start hiding inappropriate content from their accounts on Instagram and Facebook.

This includes posts related to suicide, self-harm, and eating disorders. The social media giant, based in Menlo Park, California, aims to provide age-appropriate experiences for its teen users.

While Meta already avoids recommending "age-inappropriate" material to teens, it will now go a step further by ensuring that such content does not appear in their feeds, even if it is shared by an account they follow. The company wants to prioritise the well-being of young users and create a safer space for them online.

In addition to hiding certain posts, Meta will also place teen users' accounts on the most restrictive settings on both Instagram and Facebook. This means that they will be blocked from searching for terms that could be harmful or trigger negative emotions.

Explaining their decision, Meta stated, "Take the example of someone posting about their ongoing struggle with thoughts of self-harm. This is an important story and can help de-stigmatise these issues, but it's a complex topic and isn't necessarily suitable for all young people. Now, we'll start to remove this type of content from teens' experiences on Instagram and Facebook, as well as other types of age-inappropriate content."

However, Meta's announcement has faced criticism from some who believe that the measures don't go far enough. The company is currently facing lawsuits from several U.S. states, accusing it of contributing to the youth mental health crisis by designing features on Instagram and Facebook that addict children to their platforms.

Josh Golin, executive director of the children's online advocacy group Fairplay, expressed his disappointment, stating, "Today's announcement by Meta is yet another desperate attempt to avoid regulation and an incredible slap in the face to parents who have lost their kids to online harms on Instagram. If the company is capable of hiding pro-suicide and eating disorder content, why have they waited until 2024 to announce these changes?"

  • Meta will hide posts about suicide, eating disorders, and self-harm from teens' Instagram and Facebook feeds.

  • Teen users' accounts will be placed on the most restrictive settings on both platforms.

  • Critics argue that Meta's measures don't go far enough to protect young users.

Source: AP NEWS

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