Facebook, Instagram to Start Blocking Sexual Content for Minors Soon
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Social networking website Facebook and its photo-sharing app Instagram are planning to put in place a system to stop minors from watching sexual content on their platforms, according to a report in The Telegraph. According to the report, Facebook will “age-gate” certain categories of sexual content for users aged below 18, probably beginning in early 2020. As part of the new policy, suggestive adverts and pictures depicting sexual activity will be hidden from users who have given Facebook a birth date that puts them below the age of 18. Such content will, however, be visible to adult users.
The new policy will affect adverts containing “implicit sexual activity”, images of artworks that depict sexual activity and some fictional depictions of sex, said the report. It also added that the new rules will not change the previous policy on explicit sexual content, which remains mostly banned with some exceptions. These include breastfeeding parents, cancer survivors or some “explicitly educational” sexual content.
The report said that Facebook consulted 25 experts across the world, including artists, LGBT and free-speech activists, as well as child safety advocates for their opinion on age-gating sexual content. While most of them urged Facebook to tighten its policy, a significant minority disagreed saying age-gating such content only sexualises it further. For those unaware, Facebook already age-gates a wide variety of content like promotions of diets and weight loss pills to images of animals being abused, but age restriction on sexual content has been imposed for the first time.