Meta to Block Sexually Explicit Images on Instagram DMs

Written by PTC | Published April 16, 2024

LOS ANGELES (April 16, 2024) – The Parents Television and Media Council (PTC) applauded Meta’s decision to blur sexually explicit content by default on Instagram direct messaging for accounts of teens under age 18.

“Children and teens can be severely impacted and harmed from viewing sexually explicit content, and Meta’s decision to automatically blur sexually explicit content in Instagram direct messages is a positive step in child protection. It also underscores the point that Meta can block anything they want in the name of child protection if it chooses to,” said Melissa Henson, vice president, Parents Television and Media Council.

“While this is a good decision, we are surprised it has taken this long for Meta to enact these common-sense safeguards. Congress must weigh in to ensure the tech industry has accountability for protecting its youngest users by passing the Kids Online Safety Act, Children and Teens Online Privacy Protection Act 2.0, the EARN IT Act, and other measures to advance online child safety.”

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, continues to be revealed by media outlets, whistleblowers, and lawsuits as fueling child sexual exploitation, providing a platform for pedophiles, and enabling sexually explicit and other harmful content that targets teens, especially teen girls. In October 2023, Meta was sued by the District of Columbia and 41 states claiming its products are addictive and potentially harmful to children and their mental health.

The Parents Television and Media Council has created a Resource Center for parents and caregivers with the latest information and research about protecting children online and from explicit media marketed to them.

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