Instagram will ban adults from DMing minors who don’t follow them

Instagram will restrict adults from sending direct messages to teens who don’t follow them.

In this photo illustration the logo of Instagram is displayed on a smartphone on September 27, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo Illustration by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)

The new feature is part of Instagram’s efforts to protect its youngest users from “unwanted contact from adults”, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

The feature will block adults from messaging people under 18 years old who don’t follow them. The Facebook-owned company said adults who attempt to do so will receive a notification that sending the message is not an option.

It continued, “This feature relies on our work to predict peoples’ ages using machine learning technology, and the age people give us when they sign up. As we move to end-to-end encryption, we’re investing in features that protect privacy and keep people safe without accessing the content of DMs.”

Instagram said it will also send notices to teens to be careful in conversations with adults they do follow, and also alert them to adults who have shown possible suspicious behaviour such as sending numerous friend requests to under-18 children.

The roll-out will begin in some countries in March as the company hopes to have it available everywhere soon.