Instagram automatically blurring nudity in direct messages to teens 


Instagram automatically blurring nudity in direct messages to teens 

The Instagram logo is seen on a cell phone being held in front of a computer screen displaying more logos of the app.

Michael Dwyer, Associated Press file

The Instagram logo is seen on a cell phone Oct. 14, 2022, in Boston.

Instagram will automatically blur nude images in direct messages sent to users under 18 by default and encourage adult users through a notification to turn on the feature, the company announced Thursday.  

The update aims to both protect users from seeing unwanted nudity in their direct messages as well as from potential sextortion scammers who may send nudge images to get others to send their own back, Instagram said in a blog post.  

It comes after Instagram’s parent company Meta has faced pressure along with other social media platforms to put more controls in place to protect teens online from potential harms, including sextortion scams in which someone threatens to expose sensitive images unless the victim meets certain demands.

The update will automatically blur nude photos under a warning screen that says a “photo may contain nudity” before a user chooses to view it or not. The app will also send users a message that tells them “don’t feel pressured to respond” and an option to block the sender and report the chat. 

When the nudity protection feature is turned on, users who send images containing nudity will also see a message that reminds them to “take care when sharing sensitive photos,” and they will be allowed to “unsend these photos” if they have changed their mind.  

A similar notification will pop up for anyone who tries to forward a nude image they’ve received, urging them to reconsider before they share. 

Instagram’s update comes after mounting pressure for Meta and other tech companies to protect youth on their platforms. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the CEOs of Snap, Discord, X and TikTok faced a Senate panel in January over risks their platforms pose for teens.  

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding a hearing Wednesday on a series of bills that aim to protect children online, along with a newly unveiled comprehensive data privacy bill.  

The Senate Commerce Committee advanced several bills aimed at boosting protections for kids online with bipartisan support, but they have not yet been called for a floor vote.   


Data privacy


kids safety online

Mark Zuckerberg



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