Instagram will default profiles to ‘private’ for minors

It’s not quite so Insta for the 16-and-under influencer crowd anymore.

Minors logging on to Instagram for the first time will now automatically default to a “private” account as the company aims to create a more “safe and private” platform.

“Wherever we can, we want to stop young people from hearing from adults they don’t know, or that they don’t want to hear from,” reps for Instagram announced in a blog post on Tuesday. “We believe private accounts are the best way to prevent this from happening.”

Perviously, new accounts would default to “public” settings, wherein anyone can search for and view a public profile. Now, the new rule will make it so anyone under the age of 16 (or 18, in some countries) who creates an account on Instagram will be defaulted to a “private” account — until they make the changes themselves in the settings.

The platform’s own testing revealed that eight out of 10 young people accepted the default private settings without question.

“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,” they explained.

To be clear, minors will still have the option to put it all out there for the masses. “We still give young people the choice to switch to a public account or keep their current account public if they wish,” Instagram added.

Of the changes, a Facebook spokesperson told the BBC, “The reality is that they are already online and, with no foolproof way to stop people from misrepresenting their age, we want to build experiences designed specifically for them, managed by parents and guardians.”

Meanwhile, Facebook, which owns Instagram, is moving forward with plans to launch an app created explicitly with tweens and children in mind, which has been described as an “Instagram for kids.”

However, critics say a photo-sharing app for children would create a “paradise” for pedophiles, while 44 attorneys general have pleaded with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to nix the idea.

Facebook has assured federal officials that the company is undertaking the new venture “in consultation with experts in child development, child safety and mental health, and privacy advocates,” and that they “look forward to working with” lawmakers on the app.