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Instagram are making changes to ‘nudge’ teens away from harmful content

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Highlights:

  • Instagram’s new features planned for teens include ‘take a break’ and ‘nudge’.
  • It plans on nudging teens when they’re continuously looking at content that may be harmful to their mental health.
  • It will also prompt users to take a break from the app.

Instagram is working on new ways to make the platform a safe place for young users. The photo-sharing app will now introduce a new feature that would ask teenagers to maintain a safe distance from harmful content and encourage them to “take a break” from Instagram. The new features is announce by Facebook vice president of global affairs Nick Clegg.

Clegg said that Facebook has invested $13 billion over the past few years in making sure to keep the platform safe and that the company has 40,000 people working on these issues. And while Clegg said that Facebook has done its best to keep harmful content out of its platforms, he says he was open for more regulation and oversight.

The new features were announced a week after whistleblower Frances Haugen revealed that  Instagram is worse for teenagers than any other social media app. Facebook new ideas: encouraging people to look at other topics if they’re stuck on content that could lead to negative social comparison, and a feature tentatively dubbed “Take a Break,” where people could pause their account and consider whether the time they’re spending is meaningful.

Facebook vice president Nick Clegg said:

“We’re going to introduce something which I think will make a considerable difference, which is where our systems see that a teenagers is looking at the same content over and over again, and it’s content, which may not be conducive to their well being. We will nudge them to look at other content.”

He added that in addition to pausing plans for an Instagram Kids platform and giving parents optional controls to supervise teens, the company planned to introduce a feature “called ‘take a break,’ where they will prompting teens to just simply take a break from using Instagram.”

The social media company is also planning to reduce the amount of political content on people’s feeds, focusing instead on content from friends. The new mantra of the company is: “more friends, less politics.”

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