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Instagram says new users under 16 will now have private accounts

The platform made the move partly based on recent research that showed eight in 10 young users preferred more private settings, and to discourage unwanted contact from adults. File Photo by LoboStudioHamburg/Pixabay
The platform made the move partly based on recent research that showed eight in 10 young users preferred more private settings, and to discourage unwanted contact from adults. File Photo by LoboStudioHamburg/Pixabay

July 27 (UPI) -- Social photo platform Instagram announced on Tuesday that it will start defaulting users under age 16 to private accounts.

The change applies to new users and Instagram will also encourage others under 16 who have a public account to make it private.

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The platform made the move partly based on recent research that showed eight in 10 young users preferred more private settings, and to discourage unwanted contact from adults.

When private, accounts are seen only by approved followers.

Along with the default to private setting, Instagram said it's also developed new technology to track "potentially suspicious behavior" from accounts that may have been blocked or reported by younger users.

"These new updates represent important progress," Larry Magrid, CEO of ConnectSafely, a nonprofit that educates tech users about safety, said in a statement.

"Defaulting teens under 16 into private accounts helps young people keep their content less visible to adults."

Instagram also announced changes for advertisers when it comes to younger users.

"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," Instagram said in a statement.

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The advertising changes will apply globally to Instagram and parent company Facebook.

Facebook is presently developing a platform entirely for persons under 13, which is the minimum age to sign up for Instagram.

Some critics of a new child social platform have said it would put younger users at "great risk."

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