Facebook to encourage teens away from harmful content on Instagram

Move follows scrutiny from US lawmakers on how Facebook and Instagram negatively affect young people's mental health


Reuters October 11, 2021

A Facebook executive said on Sunday that the company was planning to introduce new measures to prompt teens away from harmful content and take a break from Instagram.

It follows scrutiny from US lawmakers on how Facebook and Instagram negatively affect young people's mental health.

"We're going to introduce something which I think will make a considerable difference, which is where our systems see that the teenager is looking at the same content over and over again and it's content which may not be conducive to their well-being, we will nudge them to look at other content," Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president of global affairs, told CNN's "State of the Union."

In addition, "we're introducing something called, 'take a break,' where we will be prompting teens to just simply just take a break from using Instagram," Clegg said in the interview.

"We can't change human nature," Clegg told CNN. "You always compare yourself to others, particularly those who are more fortunate to yourself, but what we can do is change our product, which is exactly what we're doing."

Clegg said that Facebook had recently paused its plans for developing Instagram Kids, aimed at under-13s, and was introducing new optional controls for adults to supervise teenagers on its apps.

Clegg's interview came days after former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen testified on Capitol Hill about how the social media giant entices users to keep scrolling, harming teens' well-being.

In September, The Wall Street Journal reported on leaked internal research that showed the company was aware of how its Instagram app damaged the mental health of young people.

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