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Instagram will start blurring nude photos sent to teens

Instagram is taking major steps to stop nude photos from being received and sent to teenagers by announcing plans to automatically detect and blur explicit photos through its DM (Direct Messaging) service.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the feature is expected to be tested in the coming weeks and rolled out globally in the coming months. This is the latest move by parent company Meta to combat harmful content targeting minors on its platform. In January, the social media giant behind Facebook and Instagram implemented DM restrictions to restrict adults from sending messages to those under 18.

The latest scheme aims to prevent users from exchanging explicit photos with potential strangers and combat the problem of “sextortion” scams targeting minors.

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

Instagram launches new blurred image featureInstagram launches new blurred image feature
Instagram launches new blurred image feature

How does Instagram’s nude image blur feature work?

When teens receive nude photos via private messages, the images appear blurry and a message pops up with instructions on how to block the sender, report the chat, and reminds them not to feel pressured to respond.

Likewise, users who attempt to send nude photos will receive a warning about the potential dangers and the option to cancel sending the image.

“We hope this feature will educate people about the potential for these images to be misused and help them spot potential scammers,” Antigone Davis, Meta’s global director of security, told the Wall Street Journal. “

The move is particularly timely given the alarming rise in financial extortion cases. In 2023, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received 186,819 reports of online solicitation, including sextortion. Teenage boys have been a prime target of these scams, with the FBI attributing at least 20 teen suicides in the United States to sextortion.

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

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