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Instagram's Latest Update Gives You More Control

Instagram has just rolled out a new set of features aimed at helping you manage your feed and notifications more effectively.

The changes on Instagram are in response to concerns raised by policymakers, especially regarding the platform's impact on teenagers, following the release of internal documents by former Meta employee Frances Haugen.

Here are the key updates:

  • Keyword Filtering: Users can now hide posts containing specific keywords of their choice, such as "fitness" or "diets," giving them more control over the content they see.
  • Quiet Mode: Instagram introduces Quiet Mode, allowing users to customize their notification schedule and set auto-responses to direct messages (DMs). It will also encourage teenagers to enable Quiet Mode after spending a certain amount of time on the app at night.
  • Granular Post Filtering: In addition to filtering DMs with a self-made list of potentially harmful or offensive content, users can now filter out posts based on specific words in captions and hashtags, giving them a finer level of control over their feeds.
  • Parental Controls: Instagram continues to enhance parental controls, providing parents with more insights into their children's Instagram usage, addressing concerns about the well-being of young users.

These updates come in the wake of revelations from internal research at Meta (formerly Facebook) that showed significant negative effects of their products on a segment of teen users. Instagram, in particular, was found to impact the self-esteem and mental health of some young users.

While Instagram's head of public policy emphasized that the research findings were mixed regarding whether social media is good or bad for users, the company remains committed to minimizing harmful effects and addressing issues related to negative social comparison and body image.

As policymakers focus on protecting the well-being of kids online, there is a growing interest in imposing new requirements on platforms. California, for instance, has recently enacted the Age-Appropriate Design Code, which aims to ensure the safety of minors online by defaulting to strict privacy settings. However, this move has also faced legal challenges from tech industry groups.

Initially, Quiet Mode will be available in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.