Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, has introduced enhanced private messaging settings to protect teenagers from unwanted contact and provide parents with better control over their online experiences.
Under the new default setting, individuals over 19 years old are restricted from messaging teens who don’t follow them. Additionally, the type and quantity of direct messages (DMs) to someone not in their followers’ list are limited to one text-only message.
Teens, aged under 16 (or under 18 in specific regions), can now only receive messages or be added to group chats by those they already follow or are connected to. Supervised accounts for teens require parental permission to modify this setting.
These changes also extend to Messenger, where individuals under 16 (or under 18 in certain countries) will only receive messages from Facebook friends or phone contacts.
Meta plans to launch a feature preventing teens from seeing inappropriate images in messages and discouraging them from sending such images. This feature will work in encrypted chats and is expected to roll out later this year.
To empower parents, Meta now allows them to approve or deny their teens’ requests to change default safety and privacy settings. This ensures a balance between parental control and respecting teens’ privacy and communication with friends and family.
The move reflects Meta’s commitment to creating a safer online environment for teenagers while providing parents with the necessary tools to navigate their teens’ digital experiences.