Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has announced that it is taking steps to combat online predators who exploit children on its platforms. This comes in response to recent reports that have highlighted flaws in Meta's efforts to protect children on Instagram and Facebook.
In a blog post, Meta stated that it is taking the recent allegations about the effectiveness of its work very seriously. The company has created a task force to review its existing policies and has expanded its list of child safety-related terms, phrases, and emojis to flag inappropriate content. Meta is also using machine learning technology to identify terms connected to violating terms and hashtags, and it is connecting its systems across both platforms to restrict violating content.
On Instagram, Meta is preventing potentially suspicious adults from following and interacting with one another. The company is using technology that reviews over 60 different signals to identify these users, including if a teen blocks or reports an adult account, or if an adult account repeatedly searches suspicious terms.
On Facebook, Meta is using its account reviewing technology to improve how it identifies groups, pages, and profiles connected to suspicious members or content. The company has also improved its reporting and enforcement systems to find and ban potentially predatory accounts.
It is important to note that Meta's efforts to combat online predators come in the midst of scrutiny from various sources. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Meta has enabled pedophile networks on Instagram and that the platform's video service pushes inappropriate content involving children to accounts primarily following young users.
In response to these reports, the European Commission has requested information from Meta on how it is complying with its obligations to protect minors on Instagram. Additionally, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg is set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 31, along with other tech executives, to discuss how their platforms have failed to protect children online.
As the situation unfolds, it will be interesting to see how Meta's new measures to combat online predators are received and if they are effective in addressing the concerns raised by recent reports.