Thursday, Instagram released a new set of tools that allow you to control what you see in your feed and mute notifications.

The changes on Instagram, which include the option to hide posts containing any keyword the user chooses (such as “fitness” or “diets”), appear to be a response to policymakers’ concerns about the platform’s impact on teenagers following the release of internal documents by former Meta employee Frances Haugen.

Included in the new options is a Quiet mode that allows users to establish a personalised timetable to silence Instagram alerts and auto-reply to direct messages (DMs). When teens spend a “certain amount of time” browsing the app at night, the app will prompt them to activate quiet mode automatically.

Instagram launched parental controls in 2021, but the platform is now implementing further restrictions over user feeds and providing parents with more visibility into their children’s Instagram usage.

Users can now filter out posts containing specified words in their captions and hashtags. Instagram already enabled users to filter out DMs based on a self-made list of potentially hazardous or offensive information, but the new filtering option will enable users to customise their feeds with greater precision.

The Wall Street Journal revealed in 2021 that Facebook’s internal research has uncovered considerable negative effects of its products on a tiny percentage of young users. Haugen eventually disclosed that she was the source of the documents provided with the Journal.

According to the Journal, 32 percent of adolescent girls reported that Instagram made them feel worse about their bodies when they were feeling self-conscious. According to the survey, among teens who reported suicidal thoughts, 13% of British users and 6% of American users linked the issue to Instagram.

In a blog post at the time, Instagram’s head of public policy stated that despite the article highlighting “a narrow set of data,” Instagram stands by the research, which demonstrates “mixed” results about whether social media is helpful or detrimental for users. The firm stated that it was working on measures to reduce negative consequences, including “addressing negative social comparison and bad body image.”

Facebook changed its name to Meta in 2021 as part of a rebranding effort centred on virtual reality and the metaverse.

Congress and state legislatures have escalated their efforts to protect children’s safety online by placing new standards on platforms. California has recently enacted its Age-Appropriate Design Code, which requires platforms to consider how their services may pose a threat to minors and compels them to use the strictest privacy settings by default.

Although no national changes have been codified, these regulations are now in effect in California. NetChoice, a digital industry group, has filed a lawsuit against the state, alleging that the bill violates the First Amendment and could damage minors by restricting them access to vital resources.

Initially, the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand will have access to the Quiet mode.

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