Facebook said in a series of announcements about young users on Tuesday that Facebook will stop allowing advertisers to target people under the age of 18 on its platform based on their interests or their activities on other websites.

This change means that advertisers will soon be able to target teenagers under the age of 18 on Facebook, its Messenger service, and its photo-sharing platform Instagram only by age, gender, or location. In a blog post, Instagram stated that it is making changes because it agrees with youth advocates that young people may not be able to make decisions about goals.

A Facebook spokesperson said that the user data collected by the company will not change.

The company said that Instagram users under the age of 16 will also start to have private accounts by default when they join the platform to prevent unnecessary contact with adults. However, they can still choose to switch to a public account, and the current user can keep their account public.

After US lawmakers and the Attorney General criticized its leaked plans to launch an Instagram version for children under 13 years of age, Facebook’s attitude towards young users has always attracted attention. Earlier this year, a group of more than 40 state attorneys general wrote to CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking him to give up the idea.

The company said on Tuesday that it is working to “provide an Instagram experience for teenagers.” It stated that the idea of ​​a teen-centric app is to provide parents with greater transparency and control what young children who want to access Instagram are doing.

See also  "FarmVille" is one of the most popular games on Facebook and will be closed tomorrow; creators share insights

Several major social media companies have also launched app versions for young audiences, from Facebook’s Messenger Kids to [Alphabet]YouTube Kids owned.

Proponents believe that children are already on a platform, so the family-friendly version provides a safer environment, but critics say that Facebook should not try to let young children use its services because of their development and mental health. And privacy is at risk.

Child age verification is an issue on many social media sites, which prohibit children under 13 years old, but generally fail to identify and delete underage users. In another blog post on Tuesday, Facebook’s head of youth products, Pavni Diwanji, stated that it is using artificial intelligence to improve this verification and delete minor accounts.

Instagram also stated that in many countries, it has become more difficult for adults who exhibit potentially suspicious behavior (such as being recently reported by young users) to find young people’s accounts by searching for usernames or recommending them to them. . It said it will prevent these adults from seeing young people’s comments on other people’s posts, and adults will not be able to comment on young people’s posts.

© Thomson Reuters 2021