Weeks of criticism and backlash has prompted Instagram to introduce new features to nudge teenagers away from harmful content and encourage them to “take a break” from the platform. Facebook has been in the limelight after whistleblower Frances Haugen revealed internal documents to the Wall Street Journal.
Nick Clegg, Facebook Vice President of Global Affairs, told CNN’s State of the Union that the new features will make a considerable difference. He also shared the platform’s plans to pause Instagram Kids.
“We’re going to introduce something which I think will make a considerable difference, which is where our systems see that a teenagers is looking at the same content over and over again, and it’s content, which may not be conducive to their well-being, we will nudge them to look at other content,” Clegg said.
In regards to Instagram Kids platform, Facebook will give parents optional controls to supervise teens. Clegg said the company planned to introduce a feature called “take a break”, where they will be prompting teens to just simply take a break from using Instagram. However, there is no timeline for either feature. A Facebook spokesperson said the features are not testing yet but will soon.
The platform’s September 27th blog post had stated… “We announced last week that we’re exploring two new ideas: encouraging people to look at other topics if they’re dwelling on content that might contribute to negative social comparison, and a feature tentatively call ‘Take a Break’, where people could put their account on pause and take a moment to consider whether the time they’re spending is meaningful.”
The whistleblower had highlighted the platform’s problematic algorithm. When asked whether Facebook’s algorithm amplified or spread pro-insurrection voices ahead of a riot at the US Capitol building on January 6. Clegg admitted that Facebook’s algorithms ‘should be held to account’, if necessary, by regulation so that people can match what the platform’s systems say they are supposed to do from what actually happens.
Facebook has vigorously contested many of Haugen’s claims and CEO Mark Zuckerberg also took to a lengthy post. The platform has been time and again accused of not willing to make significant changes to improve kids’ safety, and putting ad revenues and profits first.