Advertisers on Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram will no longer be able to target teens based on their interests. Businesses can still target ad campaigns to people 18 years and under based on age, gender, and location.
The new measures were introduced the same day a report revealed that several alcohol brands had not implemented age-restriction controls for campaigns on Facebook and Instagram. In April, lobby group Reset Australia published a report showing that advertisers could target teens with interests in alcohol, smoking and vaping, gambling, extreme weight loss, fast food, and online dating.
The minimum age to open an account on Facebook and Instagram is 13-years-old. In the United States, news of Instagram’s plan to release a “tween version” of the app for children under 13 spurred a group of 40 state attorneys general to petition the company to abandon the plan. In April, the nonprofit Fairplay led a coalition of 35 child protection groups and 64 experts in opposition to the under-13 version of Instagram.
As part of Instagram’s broader efforts to make the app safe for teens and children, new users under the age of 16 will now have their accounts set to private by default. The company also introduced Sensitive Content Controls that allow people to better filter the posts they see in the Explore tab. A new tool has also been developed to detect suspicious interactions between adult accounts and teens.
“We’ll keep listening to feedback from teens, parents, lawmakers and experts – and working to keep Instagram safe,” said Instagram head Adam Mosseri in a post on the new measures.