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Meta has announced a new safety measure aimed at protecting teens on Instagram by automatically blurring nudity in direct messages (DMs).

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Meta has unveiled new features on Instagram designed to enhance the safety of young users and protect them from unwanted nudity or sextortion scams. One such feature is “Nudity Protection in DMs,” which automatically blurs images containing nudity to shield teen users from potentially harmful content.

In addition to this, Meta will prompt teens to be cautious when sharing intimate imagery, aiming to prevent scammers from exploiting them by sending nude images to coerce reciprocation. The company is also implementing measures to make it more challenging for scammers and criminals to interact with teens, including identifying accounts potentially involved in sextortion scams and imposing restrictions on their activities.

Moreover, Meta is expanding the data shared with the child safety program Lantern to include more signals specific to sextortion. Despite longstanding policies against unwanted nudes and coercion on its platforms, Meta acknowledges the persistence of these issues and their detrimental impact on teens and young people.

The Nudity Protection feature will be enabled by default for users under 18 globally, while older users will receive a notification encouraging them to activate it. It utilizes on-device machine learning to analyze images within end-to-end encrypted chats, ensuring privacy while enhancing safety.

To further educate users, Instagram will provide safety tips to individuals sending or receiving nudes, emphasizing the risks involved and directing them to expert resources. Additionally, the platform will test pop-up messages for users who have interacted with accounts removed for sextortion, guiding them to relevant support services.

Meta is also developing technology to identify potential sextortionists based on various signals, although specifics about the technology and signals remain undisclosed. Accounts flagged as potential threats will face messaging restrictions, with messages directed to the recipient’s hidden requests folder to minimize exposure.

To protect teen users, Meta will not display the “Message” button on their profiles to potential sextortion accounts, even if they are connected. Furthermore, it is testing features to conceal teens from these accounts in follower lists and search results, making it harder for them to interact with vulnerable users.

These measures reflect Meta’s ongoing efforts to enhance safety on its platforms, particularly for young users, amid increasing scrutiny and regulatory pressure. While previous approaches have faced criticism, the company’s incremental progress underscores a shift toward prioritizing user safety over engagement metrics.

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