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Instagram has announced two new updates to help protect younger users in the app, including an expansion of its “Limits” feature, which was originally only available to creator accounts, and new ways to restrict who can engage with your posts.

First off, on the expansion of Limits, which Instagram originally rolled out to celebrity users in 2021. The initial aim of Limits was actually to offer more protection for UK soccer players who were being abused in the app after England lost the Euro 2020 championship final.

And now, Instagram’s expanding access to teen users as well, in order to give them space from abusive elements.

As per Instagram:

We have rules against bullying and harassment on our platforms, and we have technology to find and remove it when it breaks our rules. But not everything goes against our rules, because context matters a lot, and bullying can be very personal. An innocuous word or emoji might mean nothing to one person and be upsetting to another.”

Limits will enable teen users to limit their exposure to comments from people that they don’t know, by only showing you interactions from those on their “Close Friends” list.

When ‘Limits’ is turned on, you’ll only see comments, DMs and tags or mentions from your Close Friends. People who aren’t in your Close Friends can continue to interact with your content, but you won’t see those interactions, and those people won’t know they’re being limited.”

Instagram hopes that this will provide more protection for teens, by enabling them to distance themselves from certain conversations when they start to get too much.

I mean, comments will keep coming in on your posts, so it’s not a block-like function. But maybe, having a moment of relief from such will prove to be useful for more users.

Instagram’s also announced an expansion of its “Restrict” option, which will now also enable teen users to take action on a specific profile, without having to block them.

“Now, when you Restrict someone, in addition to hiding their comments, that person also won’t be able to tag or mention you.”

Instagram Restrict

This is a more direct approach to combating online bullying, because rather than just hiding comments for you, this removes the users’ ability to directly engage with your posts. I guess, the only downside, which IG can’t implement controls for, is that users can still talk about you among themselves, which can be just as harmful for young users, but these expanded tools will provide more ways to curate and manage your in-app experience.

Protecting teens is a key concern for Instagram, which has been subject to various investigations over its harmful impacts on youngsters.

Indeed, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has been questioned by Congress over the impacts that IG can have on young users, and what it’s doing to protect them, and Instagram has continued to build on its various tools to keep youngsters safe in the app.

Just last month, Instagram rolled out additional protection measures to combat sextortion scams in the app, while it also recently added processes to limit exposure to self-harm related content. 

There are, of course, limits on what Instagram can do in this respect, but it is providing more tools to protect teens, and enable them to control their experience in the app.

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