Instagram is reportedly recommending sexual Reels to teens as young as 13

According to separate tests conducted by Instagram, even though teens under 13 aren’t specifically looking for explicit videos, they recommend Reels with sexual content. The Wall Street Journal and Northeastern University Professor Laura Edelson. Both of them created new accounts and identified their ages as 13 years old, mainly for tests conducted between January and April this year. Apparently, Instagram has featured moderately revealing videos from the beginning, including videos of women dancing sensually or showing off their bodies. Accounts that watched those videos and skipped other Reels started getting recommendations for more open videos.

Some of the Recommended Reels featured women pantomiming sexual acts, while others promised to send nude photos to users who commented on their accounts. Test users were also shown videos of people flashing their genitals, and in one case, a user believed to be a teenager was shown “video after video of anal sex,” it said. It only took three minutes after creating accounts to start getting Sex Reels. Within 20 minutes of watching them, their recommended Reels section was dominated by creators creating sexual content.

Note, Journal and Edelson conducted the same test for TikTok and Snapchat and found that neither platform recommended sexual videos to the teen accounts they created. Accounts didn’t even see recommendations for age-inappropriate videos after actively searching for them and following the creators who produced them.

Journal Meta said its employees had identified similar problems in the past, based on undisclosed documents, and detailed internal investigations into harmful practices on Instagram for young teens. The publication writes that Meta’s security staff had previously conducted the same test and obtained similar results. Company spokesman Andy Stone denied the report Journal: “It was an artificial experiment that didn’t match the reality of how teenagers use Instagram.” He added that the company “has made efforts to further reduce the amount of sensitive content teenagers can see on Instagram and has significantly reduced these numbers over the past few months.”

Meta in January introduced significant privacy updates is related to the protection of teen users and automatically places teen users in the most restrictive control settings from which they cannot opt ​​out. The journals’ tests were conducted after these updates were released and were even able to replicate the results in June. Meta released updates shortly after Journal He published the results of a previous experiment, where he found that Instagram Reels would serve risky images videos of children, as well as overtly sexually mature, to test accounts that only follow teenage and underage influencers.”

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