Unwanted: Meta's battle with inappropriate content is never-ending

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Meta’s added measures

Meta announced yesterday that it will introduce a range of new restrictions and policies to improve teens’ experience on Facebook and Instagram, aimed at ensuring the content that its youngest members see is “safe and age-appropriate”. The measures will see all under-18s on the platforms placed under the strictest content control settings, filtering out posts that Meta deems potentially damaging to younger users.

Blind spots

The changes will be rolled out in the coming months, though some parents may feel it’s too little too late, as legal scrutiny around how the social media giant harms minors builds.

Indeed, despite Meta’s efforts, violent & graphic content and suicide & self-injury content — 2 key areas that will be tackled by the new restrictions — continue to proliferate on Instagram and Facebook. Since the end of 2019, Meta has been forced to add warnings to, partially cover, or completely remove over 420 million graphic and violent posts from these platforms, while it’s actioned ~150m pieces of suicide and self-injury content over the same period.

However, managing what gets shared on its platforms doesn't come cheap. The tech giant reportedly spent some $5 billion on safety and security in 2021 alone (including counter-terrorism and law enforcement) — more than rival Snapchat made in total revenue over the last year.

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