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Instagram Unveils New Teen Safety Tools ahead of Senate Hearing

Instagram said early Tuesday that it’s launching several new features to improve teen safety in the app, like parental controls and an option to prevent people from tagging or mentioning teens.

The changes come a day before Instagram chief executive Adam Mosseri is set to testify before Congress for the first time. Mosseri’s appearance follows bombshell reports that showed Facebook, now Meta, and Instagram are aware of the harms their apps and services cause, including teen mental health.

The Facebook presentation first reported among teens who reported suicidal thoughts, 13% of British users and 6% of American users traced the issue to. The reports were based on thousands of internal documents provided by the former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen. More than 40% of users are 22 years old and younger, and Instagram has since paused plans to build a particular version of the app for kids.

Mosseri could point to some of the new features to defend his company’s work to lawmakers. Instagram will prevent users from tagging or mentioning teens that don’t follow them, for example. It will also begin to recommend other topics if a teen spends too much time on one specific interest, the company said. It will also release tools for parents and guardians next year that will let parents see and limit how much time their teens spend on and notify parents if a teen reports another user.

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