Meta to Hide Unsafe Content from Teens

A building in the evening shows the Meta logo

Meta announced Tuesday it will hide certain types of content from teen users on Facebook and Instagram, including content related to suicide and eating disorders.

The changes stem from feedback the tech giant says it received from experts in adolescent development, psychology and mental health. The changes bring “more than 30 tools and resources to support teens and their parents,” Meta explains in a release. The company notes that it already tries to block posts of this nature from teens in Reels and the Explore page, but now such posts shouldn’t come up in teen users’ Feeds and Stories, either, including when they’re posted by others they follow.

However, it isn’t clear how apparent this will be made to said users, which could result in lower engagement when people seek out community support. It’s also unclear if the content filtering will allow for euphemisms. For example, the phrase “unalive” has become a popular doublespeak way of referring to suicide or death.

PetaPixel reached out to Meta for additional details but did not receive an immediate reply.

“Take the example of someone posting about their ongoing struggle with thoughts of self-harm,” the release from Meta illustrates. “This is an important story, and can help destigmatize 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, younger users can still post content of this nature and share their perspectives. Meta said it will continue to share resources for anyone seeking out support.

Teens will automatically move to the most restrictive content control settings on Facebook and Instagram, which filters “potentially sensitive content or accounts in places like Search and Explore.” New users under 18 are already placed in this category, but the change would move existing teen users into this setting as well.

Additionally, teens across Instagram and Facebook will receive a prompt asking them to review their safety and privacy settings. There is also an option to turn on “recommended settings” with a single click, restricting “who can repost their content, tag or mention them, or include their content in Reels Remixes.”

Meta has faced growing push back for how it handles safety in regard to young users, in turn rolling out periodic safety updates.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.