Instagram recommends Reels that contain sexual content for teens as young as 13, even if they’re not specifically looking for racy videos, according to separate tests it conducted. The Wall Street Journal and Northeastern University professor Laura Edelson. They both created new accounts and set their ages to 13 for the tests, which were mostly conducted from January through April this year. Apparently, Instagram has offered fairly racy videos from the beginning, including videos of women dancing sensually or ones that focus on their bodies. Accounts that watched these videos and skipped other reels started getting recommendations for more meaningful videos.

Some of the recommended reels contained women performing sexual acts, and others promised to send nude photos to users who commented on their accounts. Test users were also reportedly presented with videos with people exposing their genitals, and in one case, a supposed teenage user was shown “video after video of anal sex.” It took no less than three minutes after creating accounts to start getting sex reels. Within 20 minutes of watching it, the recommended reels section was dominated by content creators producing sexual content.

To note, the magazine Edelson ran the same test on TikTok and Snapchat, and found that neither platform recommended sexual videos to the accounts they created. Accounts have never seen age-inappropriate videos recommended after actively searching for them and following the creators who produce them.

the magazine The company says Meta employees have identified similar issues in the past, based on undisclosed documents they reviewed detailing internal research into harmful experiences on Instagram for young teens. Meta safety personnel had previously conducted the same test and reached similar results, according to publication reports. However, company spokesman Andy Stone ignored the report the magazine: “This was a manufactured experience that did not match the reality of how teens use Instagram.” He added that the company “has made an effort to reduce the amount of sensitive content that teens may see on Instagram, and has reduced those numbers significantly in the past few months.”

Back in January, dead Provide important privacy updates Regarding teen user protection and automatically placing teen users in more restrictive control settings, from which they cannot opt ​​out. Journal tests were conducted after these updates were published, and were even able to replicate the results in June. Meta released the updates shortly after the magazine I posted the results of a previous experiment, where I found that Instagram Reels That would serve as “dangerous shots.” of children as well as sexually explicit videos for adults” to test accounts that exclusively follow teen and pre-teen influencers.

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