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Instagram Unveils Teen Safety Tools Ahead of CEO's Senate Testimony on App's Impact on Kids Adam Mosseri, CEO of Instagram, said in a blog post that the company is rolling out new safety features aimed at the app's youngest users, with a view to "keeping them safe" on the platform.

By The Epoch Times Edited by Charles Muselli

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Instagram said it has ramped up teen safety measures in its popular photo-sharing app, with the announcement coming as the firm's chief executive is set to testify before Congress and following bombshell reports that it was aware of the app's harm to teenagers.

Adam Mosseri, CEO of Instagram, said in a blog post that the company is rolling out new safety features aimed at the app's youngest users, with a view to "keeping them safe" on the platform.

"We'll be taking a stricter approach to what we recommend to teens on the app, we'll stop people from tagging or mentioning teens that don't follow them, we'll be nudging teens towards different topics if they've been dwelling on one topic for a long time and we're launching the Take a Break feature" in several markets, including the United States, Mosseri wrote.

The Take a Break feature, which Mosseri said on Nov. 10 that Instagram was testing, allows users to receive in-app break reminders along with expert recommendations for off-app activities.

Mosseri said Instagram would also be launching tools for parents and guardians, including an educational hub and a feature that will let them monitor how much time their teenagers spend on the app and set usage time limits.

Instagram's new teen safety feature announcement comes as Mosseri is set to testify before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security on Dec. 8.

"After bombshell reports about Instagram's toxic impacts, we want to hear straight from the company's leadership why it uses powerful algorithms that push poisonous content to children driving them down rabbit holes to dark places, and what it will do to make its platform safer," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said in a Dec. 2 statement announcing the Senate hearing in which Mosseri is set to testify, titled "Protecting Kids Online: Instagram and Reforms for Young Users."

Blumenthal's statement appears to reference an internal Facebook presentation, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, which found that Instagram users, particularly teenage girls, suffer from mental health and body image issues.

One presentation slide obtained by the Journal said that Instagram "makes body image issues worse for one in three teen girls." Another slide read that teens "blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression," according to the Journal.

There was also an internal study that examined whether there was a link between suicidal thoughts among teenagers and time spent on Instagram. The presentation slide reviewed by the Journal said that 13 percent of British and 6 percent of American users attribute their self-harming desire to Instagram usage.

Mosseri's blog post suggests he's likely to defend Instagram and tout its new safety features before lawmakers on Wednesday.

"Every day I see the positive impact that Instagram has for young people everywhere. I'm proud that our platform is a place where teens can spend time with the people they care about, explore their interests, and explore who they are," he wrote.

"I want to make sure that it stays that way, which means above all keeping them safe on Instagram. We'll continue doing research, consulting with experts, and testing new concepts to better serve teens," he added.

GQ Pan contributed to this report

By Tom Ozimek

Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'

The Epoch Times, founded in 2000, is headquartered in Manhattan, New York, with a mission to provide independent and accurate information free of political bias or corporate influence. The organization was established in response to censorship within China and a lack of global awareness regarding the Chinese regime's repression of the spiritual practice Falun Gong.

The Epoch Times is a widely read newspaper that is distributed in 33 countries and is available in 21 languages. The publication has been critical in providing balanced and detailed reporting on major global events such as the 2003 SARS pandemic and the 2008 financial crisis. Notably, the organization has played a key role in exposing corruption inside China.

Aside from its human rights coverage, The Epoch Times has made significant contributions in a variety of fields. It has received praise for its in-depth analysis and expert perspectives on business, the economy and U.S. politics. The newspaper has also received praise for its broad coverage of these topics.

A series of editorials titled "Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party" appeared in The Epoch Times in 2004. It asserts that freedom and prosperity in China can only be achieved by eliminating the Communist Party, which violated China's cultural and spiritual values. In addition, the organization led the Tuidang movement, which resulted in over 400 million Chinese citizens quitting the Communist Party. In spite of this, 90% of websites referring to the "Nine Commentaries" were blocked by the Chinese regime.

The Epoch Times has been at the forefront of investigating high-level corruption cases within the Chinese regime, with its reporters taking significant risks to uncover these stories. The organization has received several awards for its investigative journalism.

The organization has received several awards for its investigative journalism. For more, visit www.theepochtimes.com.

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