Home Instagram will start blurring nude images sent to teens

Instagram will start blurring nude images sent to teens

Instagram is taking significant steps to stop the receiving and sending of nude images to teens by announcing plans to automatically detect and blur explicit photos through its DM (direct messaging) service.

The function is expected to be tested in the coming weeks to be rolled out across the globe in the next few months, reports the Wall Street Journal. It’s the latest move from parent company Meta to fight harmful content on its platforms directed at minors. In January the social media giant behind Facebook and Instagram, implemented DM restrictions to curtail adults being able to message under 18s.

The latest plan aims to discourage users from exchanging explicit photos with potential strangers and to combat the rising issue of “sextortion” scams targeting minors.

Instagram will enable this feature by default for accounts associated with teenage users, while adult users will be encouraged to opt-in.

Instagram's new blurred image function
Instagram’s new blurred image function

How will Instagram’s nude image blur function work?

When a teen receives a nude image via direct message, the picture will appear blurred, accompanied by a pop-up message guiding how to block the sender, report the chat, and a reminder that they should not feel pressured to respond.

Similarly, users attempting to send nude images will receive a warning about the potential dangers and the option to unsend the picture.

Antigone Davis, Meta’s global head of safety, told the WSJ: “It is our hope that this feature will educate people about the potential for abuse of these images and to help them spot potential scammers,”

The move is particularly timely given the alarming rise in financial sextortion cases. In 2023 the USA’s National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received 186,819 reports of online enticement – the category that includes sextortion. Teen boys have been the primary targets of these scams, with the FBI attributing at least 20 teen suicides in the US to sextortion.

In addition to the blurring feature, Instagram is developing technology to identify accounts that may engage in sextortion scams, automatically hiding messages from these flagged accounts to protect teen recipients.

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Sam Shedden
Executive Editor

Sam Shedden is an experienced journalist and editor with over a decade of experience in online news. A seasoned technology writer and content strategist, he has contributed to many UK regional and national publications including The Scotsman, inews.co.uk, nationalworld.com, Edinburgh Evening News, The Daily Record and more. Sam has written and edited content for audiences whose interests include media, technology, AI, start-ups and innovation. He's also produced and set-up email newsletters in numerous specialist topics in previous roles and his work on newsletters saw him nominated as Newsletter Hero Of The Year at the UK's Publisher Newsletter Awards 2023. He…

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