Instagram has announced a couple of crucial changes that it says will make the platform safer for minors. Firstly, the company says it will now require all new users to declare their birthdates when creating an account on the platform. In an official blog post on Wednesday, the Facebook-owned company said that the new policy will help prevent underage people from joining Instagram, thereby making it a safer place with more age-appropriate experiences overall.
The company further said that it will automatically import the birthdate listed on an user’s Facebook profile if they’ve linked their Facebook and Instagram accounts. “Editing your date of birth on Facebook will also change it on Instagram. If you don’t have a Facebook account or if you have not connected your accounts, you can add or edit your birthday directly on Instagram”, the company said.
While Instagram says that the birthdates will enable it to “create more tailored experiences, such as education …”, they will also help it to better serve advertising targeted at certain age groups. Which may be a good thing for kids who will now be off-limits for tobacco and liquor ads, but it might be yet another headache for many other users.
Instagram has also announced a new feature to help users control who can send them direct messages on Instagram. This gives users the ability to allow only the people they follow to message them and add them to group threads. “People who enable this setting will no longer receive messages, group message requests or story replies from anyone they have not chosen to follow”, said the company.