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Facebook: New Teen Safety Features and ‘Take a Break’ on Instagram

As part of our ongoing youth safety work at Meta, today we’re announcing new tools and features to keep young people even safer on Instagram. We’ll take a stricter approach to what we recommend to teens on Instagram, we’ll stop people from tagging or mentioning teens that don’t follow them, we’ll nudge teens towards different…

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  • As part of our ongoing youth safety work at Meta, today we’re announcing new tools and features to keep young people even safer on Instagram.
  • We’ll take a stricter approach to what we recommend to teens on Instagram, we’ll stop people from tagging or mentioning teens that don’t follow them, we’ll nudge teens towards different topics if they’ve been dwelling on one topic for a long time, and we’re launching the Take A Break feature in the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. 
  • We’ll also launch our first tools for parents and guardians to see how much time their teens spend on Instagram and set time limits. And we’ll have a new educational hub for parents and guardians.

Every day I see the positive impact that Instagram has for young people everywhere. I’m proud that our platform is a place where teens can spend time with the people they care about, explore their interests, and explore who they are. 

I want to make sure that it stays that way, which means above all keeping them safe on Instagram. We’ll continue doing research, consulting with experts, and testing new concepts to better serve teens.

Today, I’d like to clarify some of the work that we’ve been doing for a long time, and also lay out a few new things that we’ve been developing to meaningfully improve the experience on Instagram for teens, parents and guardians. This includes developing new tools for parents and guardians and launching Take A Break.

Involving Parents and Guardians in Their Teens’ Experience on Instagram

  • We’re launching our first tools for parents and guardians early next year.
  • We’re introducing a new educational hub for parents and guardians.

Parents and guardians know what’s best for their teens, so we plan to launch our first tools in March to help them guide and support their teens on Instagram. Parents and guardians will be able to view how much time their teens spend on Instagram and set time limits. We’ll also give teens a new option to notify their parents if they report someone, giving their parents the opportunity to talk about it with them. This is the first version of these tools; we’ll continue to add more options over time.

We’re also developing a new educational hub for parents and guardians that will include additional resources, like product tutorials and tips from experts, to help them discuss social media use with their teens.

Screenshots of time spent on Instagram and time limits

Providing Teens with More Tools to Better Manage Their Instagram Experience

  • We previously announced the development of Take A Break, and we’re launching it in the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and Australia today.
  • We’re also starting to test a new experience for teens to better manage their digital footprint on Instagram.

It’s important to me that people feel good about the time they spend on Instagram, so today we’re launching Take A Break to empower people to make informed decisions about how they’re spending their time. If someone has been scrolling for a certain amount of time, we’ll ask them to take a break from Instagram and suggest that they set reminders to take more breaks in the future. We’ll also show them expert-backed tips to help them reflect and reset. 

To make sure that teens are aware of this feature, we’ll show them notifications suggesting they turn these reminders on. We’re encouraged to see that teens are using Take A Break. Early test results show that once teens set the reminders, more than 90% of them keep them on. We’re launching this feature in the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand today, and we’ll bring it to everyone by early next year. 

Screenshots of Take a Break feature on Instagram

The Take a Break reminders build on our existing time management tools including Daily Limit, which lets people know when they’ve reached the total amount of time they want to spend on Instagram each day, and offers the ability to mute notifications from Instagram. 

We’re encouraged that experts see the value of these features, including Boris Radanović, UK Safer Internet Centre, who said, “We welcome Instagram’s new Take A Break feature, which we hope will be a meaningful way to encourage healthy social media use, particularly among younger users. Whilst taking regular breaks from screens has been challenging recently, it has been good advice for many years, and initiatives that encourage this are to be supported. We will continue to work with Instagram in this regard and hope that this represents a step in the right direction.” 

Anne Collier at The Net Safety Collaborative, who said, “I love ‘Take a Break’ because it gives young users better control over their experiences on Instagram. Because we know that agency – the power to make choices and take action – is vital to adolescent wellbeing and mental health,” and Dr. Alfiee M. Breland-Noble, a psychologist and founder of mental health nonprofit the AAKOMA project, who said, “It is imperative that we equip a diverse population of Gen Z and Gen Alpha youth with the necessary coping skills and tech tools to help them effectively manage their social media use. The well-being of diverse teens, including marginalized youth who face a host of unique societal challenges, is an imperative for me. It was therefore my pleasure to contribute my 25+ years of scientific and clinical knowledge to the development of the ‘Take a Break’ feature for Instagram. This feature is one necessary positive tool to support young people’s well-being within the context of healthy social media engagement.”

We’re also starting to test a new experience for people to see and manage their Instagram activity. We know that as teens grow up, they want more control over how they show up both online and offline so, for the first time, they will be able to bulk delete content they’ve posted like photos and videos, as well as their previous likes and comments. While available to everyone, I think this tool is particularly important for teens to more fully understand what information they’ve shared on Instagram, what is visible to others, and to have an easier way to manage their digital footprint. This new experience will be available to everyone in January.

Screenshots of Your Activity on Instagram

Developing New Features to Make Instagram Safer for Teens 

  • We’ll stop people from tagging or mentioning teens that don’t follow them.
  • We’ll be stricter about what we recommend to teens in Search, Explore, Hashtags and Suggested Accounts.
  • We’ll start nudging teens towards different topics if they’ve been dwelling on one topic for a while.

Earlier this year, we began defaulting teens into private accounts when they signed up for Instagram, and we stopped adults from being able to DM teens who don’t follow them. 

Now, we’ll also switch off the ability for people to tag or mention teens who don’t follow them, or to include their content in Reels Remixes or Guides by default when they first join Instagram. We’re testing these changes to further minimize the possibility that teens will hear from those they don’t know, or don’t want to hear from, and plan to make them available to everyone early next year. 

Teen Privacy settings on Instagram

In July, we launched the Sensitive Content Control, which allows people to decide how much sensitive content shows up in Explore. The control has three options: Allow, Limit and Limit Even More. “Limit” is the default state for everyone and based on our Recommendation Guidelines, “Allow” enables people to see more sensitive content, whereas “Limit Even More” means they see less of this content than the default state. The “Allow” option has always been unavailable to people under the age of 18.

Sensitive Content Control on Instagram

We’re exploring expanding the “Limit Even More” state beyond Explore for teens. This will make it more difficult for teens to come across potentially harmful or sensitive content or accounts in Search, Explore, Hashtags, Reels and Suggested Accounts. We’re in the early stages of this idea and will have more to share in time.

Lastly, our research shows — and external experts agree — that if people are dwelling on one topic for a while, it could be helpful to nudge them towards other topics at the right moment. That’s why we’re building a new experience that will nudge people towards other topics if they’ve been dwelling on one topic for a while. We’ll have more to share on this, and changes we’re making when it comes to content and accounts we recommend to teens, soon.

Screenshot of nudging towards another topic

Dr. Phillippa Diedrichs, a Professor of Psychology at the Centre for Appearance Research at the University of West England Bristol, agreed that nudging techniques show promise, saying “over the past eight months, I’ve been working with the Instagram team to brainstorm ways to help users have a positive experience and avoid social comparisons. Nudges are a behaviour change technique studied by behavioural economists for over a decade. They’ve been applied successfully to issues like climate change, employee well-being and altruism. More recently, digital nudges have been studied as a way to improve users’ experiences online without compromising their freedom and personal choice.” 

This is just a snapshot of our work. We’re also continuing to develop innovative new solutions to verify people’s ages on Instagram, for example. 

As always, I’m grateful to the experts and researchers who lend us their expertise in critical areas like child development, teen mental health and online safety, and I continue to welcome productive collaboration with lawmakers and policymakers on our shared goal of creating an online world that both benefits and protects many generations to come.

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Facebook: Recognizing Global Accessibility Awareness Day

As an avid outdoor enthusiast and firefighter, Carly P. has always loved being active. After a life-changing injury paralyzed her from the waist down, she felt lost. Carly recaptured her passion for being outside and found a community of people like her through the nonprofit organization Catalyst Sports. Now, she uses Catalyst Sports’ Facebook page…

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As an avid outdoor enthusiast and firefighter, Carly P. has always loved being active. After a life-changing injury paralyzed her from the waist down, she felt lost. Carly recaptured her passion for being outside and found a community of people like her through the nonprofit organization Catalyst Sports. Now, she uses Catalyst Sports’ Facebook page to spread awareness and share local recreational opportunities for people with physical disabilities.

In addition to providing community to people with disabilities, we’re also working to make the digital world more accessible. 

We will demonstrate our latest accessibility features today at our annual Accessibility Summit. Join us at 10:00AM PT for this livestream on the Meta Accessibility Facebook Page. In addition to product demos and updates, we will host an interview with Molly Burke, a digital creator and blind advocate.

Through a video series on the Meta Accessibility Facebook Page, we’re highlighting how people with disabilities connect and build communities through our technologies, much like Carly. We’ve created both the captioned and audio described versions of these stories.

Today, we’re recapping advances we’ve made over the past year to make our technologies more inclusive. 

Meta Quest

  • Audio Accessibility
    • Audio balance: This option enables you to adjust the balance of the left and right audio channels for comfort, and to better match your ability to hear in each ear. 
    • Mono Audio enables you to hear the same audio from both the left and right speakers on your headset. 
    • You’ll find both features under the Accessibility tab in your headset’s Settings menu.

Product mock of audio accessibility on Meta Quest

  • Adjust Height  
    • This feature allows you to experience VR from a “standing” vantage point even while reclining or seated. This can improve the VR experience for people who use wheelchairs, have limited mobility or are unable to use the Quest headset while standing. 
    • We first introduced this as an experimental feature (called Raise View) last June and have now made it permanent after receiving positive feedback from the disability community. 
    • You can find this feature in the Accessibility tab in Quest’s Settings menu.

Portal

  • Video relay service (VRS)
    • In December, we began supporting video relay service (VRS) applications on Portal  for people who use American Sign Language (ASL), through a collaboration with ZP Better Together.
    • Through the ZP apps on Portal and human interpreters, people who use American Sign Language can now easily communicate in both English and Spanish. 
    • Portal’s unique AI-powered camera always keeps you in frame and in focus, even when you’re moving, so your face and hands can always be seen.
  • Captions
    • We’ve also added customizable closed captions for streamed content on TV and Touch, as well as added support for live captions into integrated work productivity apps Zoom and Workplace Live.

Instagram

  • Auto-generated captions for Feed videos
    • In March, we introduced auto-generated captions for Feed videos on iOS and Android in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Arabic, Vietnamese, Italian, German, Turkish, Russian, Thai, Tagalog, Urdu, Malay, Hindi and Japanese to start. 
    • More importantly, captions are automatically turned on by default when a creator uploads a video to their Feed. Over 140 million videos were created with auto-generated captions in the last 30 days.
    • Creators retain the ability to turn captions off when they choose and viewers can turn captions on or off using on-screen controls.

Product mock of Instagram auto-generated captions

Stickers on Facebook and Messenger

  • We added alt text descriptions to the more than 10,000 stickers available on Facebook and Messenger, making it possible for people who are blind and visually impaired to understand and use them. 

Avatars

  • Earlier this year, we introduced the ability to have your same avatar across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Quest. 
  • There are also new avatar options, including over-the-ear hearing aids and cochlear implants in addition to more face shapes, skin tones, expressions, and stickers. 
  • Wheelchairs are now available as stickers on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger so your avatar can better represent who you are or who you want to be.

Product mock of accessibility features of Avatars

Open Source

  • Lexical is a JavaScript framework built to improve text editing on Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger and Workplace, with accessibility as a priority. 
  • In April, Lexical was released into open source to allow the rest of the world to benefit from these improvements. 
  • With this new framework, people can express their ideas in text via dictation, and readers can experience character-by-character navigation — a feature previously unavailable in similar editors.

Reality Labs Research

  • We’re exploring how improvements in audio quality can enable more realistic presence and perceptual superpowers in augmented and virtual reality— technological advancements that can also help us hear better in noisy environments. 
  • Our team of hearing scientists is also exploring how to reencode sound and present it through closed captioning.
  • While this is still early research, we are excited to learn more about how emerging audio technologies can improve the lives of people with hearing loss. 

Image showing audio research

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Facebook: Announcing New Products to Make Business Messaging Easier

The way people and businesses communicate is changing. One billion people message with a business each week on WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram Direct — whether it’s DMing brands, browsing product catalogs, asking for support, or interacting with stories. This consumer behavior is accelerating and it’s changing how business gets done. Today at Conversations, our inaugural…

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The way people and businesses communicate is changing. One billion people message with a business each week on WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram Direct — whether it’s DMing brands, browsing product catalogs, asking for support, or interacting with stories. This consumer behavior is accelerating and it’s changing how business gets done. Today at Conversations, our inaugural business messaging event, we discussed how messaging is transforming interactions between people and businesses, and announced new products to make conversations easier.

Introducing Cloud-based API on the WhatsApp Business Platform

Today, Mark Zuckerberg announced we’re opening up the new, cloud-based version of the WhatsApp Business Platform, hosted by Meta, to any business across the world. With this new API, we’re offering free, secure cloud hosting services so businesses and developers can easily access our service within minutes, build directly on top of WhatsApp to customize their experience and increase their response time for their customers. So now, whether a business wants to work with one of our 100+ partners or access our service directly, it will be much faster to get up and running on WhatsApp.

When growing a business, you need smart, robust and easy-to-use conversation tools. For smaller businesses using the WhatsApp Business app, we’re building tools so it’s easier to handle an influx of chats as they grow their customer base. 

Launching Recurring Notifications on Messenger

Today we’re announcing a new way for businesses to keep the conversation going with Recurring Notifications. As businesses acquire new customers and begin to scale operations, there’s incredible opportunity to build loyalty and trust — and we believe this is where the value of messaging really shines. This new capability makes it easy to re-engage people right in the messaging thread and deliver tailored messaging at the best time for customers, whether to hear about special promotions, new product drops or tips and tricks.

You can choose the topics you’d like to let people opt-in to, how often customers can hear from you and shape your content, so your messages are always on-brand and relevant. Recurring notifications will also be available for businesses on Instagram this fall.

We also highlighted our click-to-message ads to help customers immediately start conversations with businesses, our CRM platform Kustomer and Meta Business Suite for higher volumes of messages across Facebook, Messenger and Instagram. Read more about our product investments in business messaging on our Meta for Developers blog.

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Facebook: Introducing New Members of the Oversight Board

Today, Meta welcomes the newest members of the Oversight Board who have just been appointed — Paolo Carozza, Khaled Mansour, and Pamela San Martin. Per the Oversight Board Bylaws, we worked together with the board to identify and select these members over the last few months. Over the next few months we will continue to…

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Today, Meta welcomes the newest members of the Oversight Board who have just been appointed — Paolo Carozza, Khaled Mansour, and Pamela San Martin.

Per the Oversight Board Bylaws, we worked together with the board to identify and select these members over the last few months. Over the next few months we will continue to support and work with the board to select additional members. The new members reflect a wide range of views and experiences, and will bring a variety of perspectives to the board’s existing expertise.

The Oversight Board represents a unique model for social media governance. From its inception, we knew its impact would come not just from its decisions on individual cases, but also from broader recommendations on how we can improve our policies and processes. In the time since they began hearing cases and issuing decisions and recommendations, they’ve been playing a bigger role in setting precedent and direction for our content policies and how we enforce them.  We look forward to welcoming the new board members into this process.

We will update this Newsroom Post as additional members are appointed. We are grateful to all board members for lending their expertise to our content moderation efforts.

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