Charlotte Foster

Technology

Facebook introduces new safety measures for kids

Facebook introduces new safety measures for kids

After damning testimony about the safety of Facebook for children, the social media giant plans to introduce several features to protect young people.

These features include instructing teens to take a break from using photo-sharing app Instagram, and ‘nudging’ those who repeatedly look at content that is not conducive to their well-being.

Facebook is also going to allow parents and guardians to monitor their teens' social media usage. 

The new initiative comes after facebook announced they are pausing work on their Instagram for Kids project. 

Critics of the project are skeptical of the new feature, saying the plan lacks details and clarity. 

The new controls were outlined by Facebook’s vice president for global affairs Nick Clegg, where he was grilled about Facebook’s use of algorithms as well as its role in spreading harmful misinformation ahead of the January 6th Capitol riots.

“We are constantly iterating in order to improve our products,” Clegg told Dana Bash on State of the Union Sunday.

“We cannot, with a wave of the wand, make everyone’s life perfect. What we can do is improve our products, so that our products are as safe and as enjoyable to use.”

In an attempt to keep the platform safe, Clegg said Facebook has invested $US13 billion ($A18 billion) over the past few years, as 40,000 people work on user safety. 

The series of interviews came after Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, a former data scientist with the company, appeared before Congress last week to accuse the social media platform of failing to make changes to Instagram after internal research showed apparent harm to some teens.

She also accused the company of being publicly dishonest in its fight against hate and misinformation, which Facebook has denied. 

Senator Amy Klobuchar, who is the chair of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, said it is time to update children’s privacy laws and offer more transparency in the use of algorithms.

“I appreciate that he is willing to talk about things, but I believe the time for conversation is done,” said Klobuchar, referring to Clegg’s plan.

“The time for action is now.”

Image credit: Shutterstock

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