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 were announced by Facebook vice president of global affairs Nick Clegg. The announcement Clegg came shortly after ex-Facebook employee turned Whistleblower made shocking claims about Facebook harming young users through Instagram.
Talking about the features, Clegg said at the CNN’s State of the Union, “We’re going to introduce something which I think will make a considerable difference, which is where our systems see that a teenager 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,” Clegg said. He also revealed that the company is also working on a feature that would ask teenagers to simply take a break from the platform. Clegg however didn’t reveal when it plans to roll out the new features.
Earlier, Instagram head Adam Mosseri had talked about working on the “take a break” feature. “We encouraging people to look at other topics if they’re dwelling on content that might contribute to negative social comparison, and a feature tentatively called “Take a Break,” where people could put their account on pause and take a moment to consider whether the time they’re spending is meaningful,” he had said.
Francis Haugen, who is a former employee turned whistleblower, has testified before the Senate committee about her experience on Facebook, and she also called on Congress to take strict action against the social media company for allegedly creating a toxic environment for teens on Instagram. She had alleged that Facebook knew about the harmful effects on teens on Instagram yet did not take any steps to curb it.
Instagram had also halted its plan of launching Instagram kids, for users under the age of 13 after facing severe backlash from child safety advocates.