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Facebook: Giving Young People a Safer, More Private Experience on Instagram

Creating an experience on Instagram that’s safe and private for young people, but also fun, comes with competing challenges. We want them to easily make new friends and keep up with their interests, but we don’t want them to deal with unwanted DMs or comments from strangers. We think private accounts are the right choice…

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Creating an experience on Instagram that’s safe and private for young people, but also fun, comes with competing challenges. We want them to easily make new friends and keep up with their interests, but we don’t want them to deal with unwanted DMs or comments from strangers. We think private accounts are the right choice for young people, but we recognize some young creators might want to have public accounts to build a following.

We want to strike the right balance of giving young people all the things they love about Instagram while also keeping them safe. That’s why we’re announcing changes we’ll make today, including:

  • Defaulting young people into private accounts
  • Making it harder for potentially suspicious accounts to find young people
  • Limiting the options advertisers have to reach young people with ads

Defaulting People Under 16 Into Private Accounts

Wherever we can, we want to stop young people from hearing from adults they don’t know or don’t want to hear from. We believe private accounts are the best way to prevent this from happening. So starting this week, everyone who is under 16 years old (or under 18 in certain countries) will be defaulted into a private account when they join Instagram. 

Private accounts let people control who sees or responds to their content. If you have a private account, people have to follow you to see your posts, Stories and Reels. People also can’t comment on your content in those places, and they won’t see your content at all in places like Explore or hashtags. 

Historically, we asked young people to choose between a public account or a private account when they signed up for Instagram, but our recent research showed that they appreciate a more private experience. During testing, eight out of ten young people accepted the private default settings during sign-up. 

For young people who already have a public account on Instagram, we’ll show them a notification highlighting the benefits of a private account and explaining how to change their privacy settings. We’ll still give young people the choice to switch to a public account or keep their current account public if they wish.

“While most platforms have set their minimum age for participation at 13, there’s no on/off switch that makes someone ready to be a fully media-literate participant on that birthday. Defaulting accounts to private for under-16s encourages young people to develop comfort, confidence and capability as digital citizens during their younger years and help them develop habits to last a lifetime.”

– David Kleeman, Senior Vice President, Global Trends, Dubit

Screenshot of account privacy for people under age 13

We also published an article today outlining the steps we’re taking as a company to understand people’s ages across our apps.

“These new updates represent important progress towards creating a safer, more private experience for young people on Instagram. In particular, using machine learning to understand when it might not be appropriate for an adult to interact with a teen puts teens in the driver’s seat as far as who they interact with, and defaulting teens under 16 into private accounts helps young people keep their content less visible to adults.”

– Larry Magid, CEO, ConnectSafely

Stopping Unwanted Contact

Encouraging young people to have private accounts is a big step in the right direction when it comes to stopping unwanted contact from adults. But we’re going even further to make young people’s accounts difficult to find for certain adults. 

We’ve developed new technology that will allow us to find accounts that have shown potentially suspicious behavior and stop those accounts from interacting with young people’s accounts. By “potentially suspicious behavior”, we mean accounts belonging to adults that may have recently been blocked or reported by a young person, for example.

Using this technology, now we won’t show young people’s accounts in Explore, Reels or Accounts Suggested For You to these adults. If they find young people’s accounts by searching for their usernames, they won’t be able to follow them. They also won’t be able to see comments from young people on other people’s posts, nor will they be able to leave comments on young people’s posts. We’ll continue to look for additional places where we can apply this technology.

We’re rolling out these changes in the US, Australia, France, the UK and Japan to start and will look to expand to more countries soon.

“It is good to see Instagram utilizing technological solutions to minimize the opportunities for adults who behave suspiciously on the app to discover minors. This is a strong move to build on their work earlier this year to prevent all unconnected adults from being able to message minors. I appreciate the new policy to default new users who say they are under 16 years of age to a private account. We routinely recommend that teens have all of their social media profiles set to private so that they have better control over who can see what they post. Defaulting to private just makes sense as adolescents explore the boundaries of what they want to share with whom.”

– Justin Patchin, Co-director, Cyberbullying Research Center

Changing How Advertisers Can Reach Young People

We’re also making changes to how advertisers can reach young people with ads. Starting in a few weeks, we’ll only allow advertisers to target ads to people under 18 (or older in certain countries) based on their age, gender and location. This means that previously available targeting options, like those based on interests or on their activity on other apps and websites, will no longer be available to advertisers. These changes will be global and apply to Instagram, Facebook and Messenger. 

We believe in showing people relevant ads so they can discover and purchase products that are interesting to them. In order to show people the most relevant ads, advertisers choose the types of people they want to see their ads. That could include choosing to show their ads to people with certain interests, like basketball, or based on information that they — or other partners — share with us about their activity on their website and apps. That’s information like whether someone put a certain pair of shoes in their shopping cart or browsed for a new summer grill. 

We already give people ways to tell us that they would rather not see ads based on their interests or on their activities on other websites and apps, such as through controls within our ad settings. But we’ve heard from youth advocates that young people may not be well equipped to make these decisions. We agree with them, which is why we’re taking a more precautionary approach in how advertisers can reach young people with ads. 

When young people turn 18, we’ll notify them about targeting options that advertisers can now use to reach them and the tools we provide to them to control their ad experience. If you’re a business looking for more information, please visit our Help Center.

Looking Ahead

We want young people to enjoy using Instagram while making sure we never compromise on their privacy and safety. We’ll continue listening to young people, parents, lawmakers and other experts to build an Instagram that works for young people and is trusted by parents.

“Instagram’s strategy to proactively weed out potential predators is a welcome innovation; teens have a right to explore their social selves freely without having to worry about predators lurking in the shadows. Whilst teens are generally aware of the risks in sharing personal information, they are often less ‘street savvy’ when it comes to privacy settings. Defaulting young people into private accounts gives them time to adapt and learn to manage their privacy without restricting their freedom of choice in any way.”

– Janice Richardson, International advisor at Insight SA, expert to the Council of Europe

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Facebook: Our Largest Ever Climate Survey Can Inform Policies, Research and Campaigns Around the World

Today, Meta and researchers at Yale University are publishing the results of our biggest ever global survey about public views towards climate change. In March and April this year, a sample of more than 100,000 Facebook users from nearly 200 countries and territories were asked about their knowledge of, and attitudes and behavior towards, climate change…

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Today, Meta and researchers at Yale University are publishing the results of our biggest ever global survey about public views towards climate change. In March and April this year, a sample of more than 100,000 Facebook users from nearly 200 countries and territories were asked about their knowledge of, and attitudes and behavior towards, climate change issues and what should be done to address them. The results paint a picture of deep concern around the world and the desire of a significant majority of people to see governments and others take meaningful action.

 

Infograph about climate change survey results

 

The survey is a collaboration between Meta and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, as part of Meta’s Data for Good program. It is hoped its findings can be used to inform policy decisions and priorities for governments, especially in many countries where surveys of this sort have not taken place before. The findings should also be valuable for researchers around the world, as well as a resource to inform public information or awareness raising campaigns by activists and NGOs, and help journalists with nationally-relevant data. For example, the Social Progress Imperative is using data from this survey to develop a new Climate Perception Index, which will serve as a tool to better understand the societal implications of climate change and will provide insights for policy makers on where to focus most in order to deliver tangible societal outcomes to their citizens.

The survey found:

  • The majority of people in nearly all countries surveyed say they are somewhat or very worried about climate change, including more than 9 in 10 respondents in many countries in Central and South America. In almost every country, majorities saw climate change as a threat to their country or territory over the next two decades.
  • A majority in two-thirds of the countries and territories surveyed think climate change will harm future generations a great deal. 
  • Majorities in nearly all countries think climate change is caused at least partially by human activity. Europeans were most likely to correctly answer that climate change is caused by human activities, led by Spain (65%) and Sweden (61%).
  • In most countries, a majority say they don’t hear about climate change at least once a week in their daily lives. Europeans are more likely to say they hear about climate change at least once a week compared to other regions.
  • Most people say their country should reduce pollution causing climate change, either on their own or if other countries also do so. However, people have different views on who is primarily responsible for reducing pollution — majorities in 43 countries said their government is responsible, 42 countries said individual people and 25 said businesses. 
  • People everywhere think climate change should be a high priority for their government. Majorities in most countries in North and South America say it should be a “very high” priority.
  • A majority in almost all areas surveyed think action to reduce climate change will either improve or have no negative impact on the economy.
  • People support using more renewable energy and less fossil fuels. About 9 in 10 people in Hungary, Portugal and Spain think their country should use somewhat or much more renewable energy.

The Data for Good program is an unprecedented collaboration between technology companies, the public sector, universities, nonprofits and others using privacy-protected datasets for social good, including disaster relief and recovery. Many of our humanitarian partners operate in some of the most challenging environments in the world. By sharing free tools that provide fast insights, Meta data has made decision-making on the ground easier, cheaper and more effective. In recent years, this collaboration has informed policies governing things like the delivery of vaccines and aid to Ukrainian refugees, and been utilized for environmental campaigns in the US, Germany, Belgium, Croatia and the UK.

Alongside the survey, Meta has also published its annual Sustainability Report, detailing the solid progress we’re making in minimizing the environmental impact of our business, supply chain and wider community. This includes:

  • Setting an ambitious goal to be water positive by 2030, meaning we will restore more water than our global operations consume. In 2021, Meta helped restore more than 2.3 million cubic meters of water through investments in water restoration projects.  
  • Progress towards our goal of reaching net zero emissions across our value chain, and maintaining 100% renewable energy for our global operations.
  • Expanding our Climate Science Center to more than 150 countries.
  • Supporting key policies to advance sustainable policies and climate action, such as joining the European Climate Pact and participating in organizations advocating for clean energy policies in the United States.

Read the full climate opinion survey report and sustainability report.

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Facebook: Uplifting Tribal Communities in India Through Digital Entrepreneurship

Inspired by the rich culture and talent represented by the tribal and indigenous communities of India, we are extending our collaboration with the Ministry of Tribal Affairs to launch the second phase of the Going Online As Leaders (GOAL) program. GOAL 2.0 will look to digitally upskill, connect and empower 10 lakh youth and women…

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Inspired by the rich culture and talent represented by the tribal and indigenous communities of India, we are extending our collaboration with the Ministry of Tribal Affairs to launch the second phase of the Going Online As Leaders (GOAL) program. GOAL 2.0 will look to digitally upskill, connect and empower 10 lakh youth and women from the tribal communities of the country and will act as a bridge for the socially marginalized youth with a vast canvas of opportunities using technology that they otherwise may not have access to.

Through this program, the identified GOAL participants will have access to Meta Business Coach — a WhatsApp based learning bot — that will give the participants an opportunity to learn skills on how to build and grow their business using Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. To empower the participants to play an active role in the digital economy, the program will also include Facebook Live sessions in nine languages by master trainers on topics like Anti Scamming education, staying safe online, how to combat misinformation and being a good digital citizen. 

​Sh. Arjun Munda, Hon’ble Minister of Tribal Affairs launched the second phase of the GOAL program.

Speaking on the occasion, Sh. Munda said: 

“Honorable Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has always spoken about bridging the digital divide. Digitally empowering India’s tribal communities would contribute significantly to the socio-economic development of the country and an important step towards creating a flourishing community of tribal leaders. The first phase of GOAL has seen changing the lives of tribal youth through the digital mentorship program. In the second phase, we will reach out to 10 lakh women and youth entrepreneurs and will also create a platform for more than 50,000 self-help groups and 10 lakh families associated with TRIFED to take their products global.” 

Sharing his views on the importance of digital empowerment for the tribal communities, Ajit Mohan, Vice President & Managing Director, Facebook India (Meta) said: 

“India’s massive digital transformation can be complete when even the most vulnerable communities of our society are digitally empowered. We are deeply inspired by the stories of some of the Tribal leaders who benefitted from the first phase of GOAL that we kicked off in 2020. We recognize the wide canvas of opportunity that gets unlocked when these tribal communities have access to digital tools and technologies, and that is why we are excited to launch the next phase of this program. In collaboration with the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, GOAL 2.0 will upskill and empower 10 lakh women and youth across tribal communities to harness the full potential of digital platforms and tools.”

Tribal population constitutes about 8.6% of the total population in India. Digitally empowering India’s tribal communities could contribute significantly to the socioeconomic development of the country and an important step towards creating a flourishing community of tribal leaders.  The first phase of GOAL included inspiring, connecting and upskilling tribal youth from across the country. As a result of GOAL, 75% of the participants from the tribal community admitted to being able to better articulate their thoughts to words and saw an improvement in their interpersonal skills. About 69% were able to leverage digital commerce for increased reach and about 63% said that it helped them understand how to set up their business. 

The program is aimed at empowering youth and women from tribal and indigenous communities to harness the full potential of digital platforms and enhancing their leadership skills for driving community development. Along with digital inclusion, the program aims to actively contribute to the economy by continuing to support the most vulnerable communities in tribal districts with a focus on tribal youth and on businesses led by tribal women in rural areas. 

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Facebook: Introducing Features to Quickly Find and Connect with Facebook Groups

New Ways to Organize Your Groups On Facebook, we’re testing a new sidebar that helps you easily find your favorite groups more quickly. It will list your groups and the latest activity within them, like new posts or chats you haven’t yet seen. You can also pin your favorite groups so they show up first,…

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New Ways to Organize Your Groups

Product mock of Community Panel on Facebook Groups

On Facebook, we’re testing a new sidebar that helps you easily find your favorite groups more quickly. It will list your groups and the latest activity within them, like new posts or chats you haven’t yet seen. You can also pin your favorite groups so they show up first, discover new groups or even create your own. For example, if you want quick access to the latest recipes in your cooking group, you can now pin it to the top, find related groups and be inspired to start your own.

Product mock of Community Panel Menu on Facebook Groups

We’re improving how each group is organized, so you can jump right into what’s happening. Within your group, you’ll see a new menu that includes things like events, shops and a variety of channels to make it easier to connect with others around the topics you care about. So, once you’re in your cooking group, you’ll be able to stay up to date with the group’s upcoming events, buy their latest swag and seamlessly join conversations. 

Connect in Smaller Spaces

Admins can begin to create channels to connect with their groups in smaller, more casual settings where they can have deeper discussions on common interests or organize their communities around topics in different formats:

Product mock of spaces on Facebook Groups

  • Community chat channels: a place for people to message, collaborate and form deeper relationships around topics in a more real-time way across both Facebook Groups and Messenger. So when you’re in your new BBQ lovers group and need real-time feedback while attempting your first brisket, an admin can create a chat for that.

Product mock of audio creation on Facebook Groups

  • Community audio channels: a feature where admins and members can casually jump in and out of audio conversations in real time. If you’re looking to hear best practices from other grill masters in your BBQ lovers group, there could be an audio channel created that’s available within your Facebook Group and on Messenger.

Product mock of Community Feed on Facebook Groups

  • Community feed channels: a way for community members to connect when it’s most convenient for them. Admins can organize their communities around topics within the group for members to connect around more specific interests. For example, if you’re in a BBQ lovers group, there could be a feed channel where you can post and comment on the topic of smokers.

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