Instagram's 'PR band aid' isn't enough

Instagram's 'PR band aid' isn't enough

Instagram's 'PR band aid' isn't enough

A promoter of the dignity of every human being says a social media platform could do more to protect users, especially children.

Instagram, owned by Meta, has announced a new Family Center, which is a hub where parents can supervise their children and access educational material to guide them on the risks of Instagram. Though Lina Nealon of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) says it may sound good, she warns there are still serious problems.

Nealon, Lina (NCOSE) Nealon

"Children have to approve their parents supervising their time on Instagram," she begins, "and nothing is included in the Family Center on the great risks we know on Instagram -- sex trafficking, child sex abuse material, grooming. So we really just feel this is a PR band aid for what is a gushing wound of exploitation on Instagram."

And considering Meta's limitless resources, she says the company could do a better job and take additional steps to protect children and young people.

"We believe that they could, in fact, be making sweeping changes to really make the platform safer for kids by default, but what they continuously do is put the onus on parents and even children themselves to keep themselves safe on the platform," Nealon submits.

She goes on to suggest that Instagram could, among other things, eliminate risky features like allowing adults to directly messaging minors. The company could also make parental tools PIN protected so that parents can lock the controls in place.

Instagram's parent company, Meta, is on the 2022 Dirty Dozen List, a NCOSE campaign calling out 12 mainstream corporations for facilitating, enabling, and profiting from sexual exploitation and abuse. The extensive harm on Instagram and other Meta-owned platforms was a key factor in Meta's inclusion on the list.