Teens on Instagram, Facebook can no longer receive messages from strangers

Meta is implementing a significant safety update across its platforms, Instagram and Messenger, by default turning off the ability for users under 18 to receive messages from individuals they do not follow or have no connection with. This step is part of Meta’s ongoing commitment to crafting age-appropriate experiences for teenagers within its apps.

The adjustment aligns with an existing policy preventing adults from messaging teenagers who are not in their follower list. Consequently, individuals on Instagram or Facebook Messenger will be unable to directly message teenagers unless they are already connected.

In a blog post, Meta stated that this default setting will be applicable to all teenagers under 16 (or under 18 in specific regions). The company aims to enhance the confidence of teens and their parents by ensuring they only receive messages from individuals they already know or follow. Existing Instagram users will receive notifications about these changes in their message settings.

Additionally, Meta is enhancing safety measures for parents through its supervision tools. Parents can now approve or deny their teenagers’ requests to modify default privacy and safety settings, providing a more active role in overseeing their child’s online activities. Previously, parents were only notified when changes occurred.

Meta emphasizes that these tools are designed to foster offline discussions between parents and teens, assisting them in navigating the digital landscape together. This safety update is introduced amid increasing scrutiny of social media platforms regarding their impact on younger users.