Under 16? Instagram will now default your account to private during initial setup

Instagram’s safety procedures are tightening, with any new accounts created by kids younger than 16 automatically set to private by default to boost privacy of the youngsters.


  • Instagram is tightening new account creation rules for kids
  • If under 16, your new Instagram account will default to private
  • But you can still set your account to be publicly visible if you like

iPhone screenshots showing how to turn an account from public into private

New Instagram accounts for kids under 16 default to private

Instagram is now defaulting people under 16 (18 in some countries) to private when they sign up for the service, acknowledges the announcement published on the official Instagram blog.

“People can still change to public—but we think private is the best choice for most young people,” writes the Facebook-owned company. If you’re under 16 and Instagram has set your newly created account to private, don’t worry as you can still change it to public at any time.

Private accounts let people control who sees or responds to their content. If you have a private account, people have to follow you to see your posts, Stories and Reels. People also can’t comment on your content in those places, and they won’t see your content at all in places like Explore or hashtags.

But Instagram isn’t stopping there.

New anti-stalking technology

According to the announcement, Instagram is also encouraging those already on the service to make their accounts private to prevent unwanted followers and strangers from stalking them.

This takes advantage of new artificial intelligence technology Instagram created to detect suspicious behavior and find adult accounts that teens might not want to hear from.

How to use Instagram’s Sensitive Content Control filter

The algorithm stops such accounts from finding and interacting with teens on Instagram. For those wondering, “potentially suspicious behavior” in Instagram talk refers to any accounts belonging to adults that may have recently been blocked or reported by a young person.

Using this technology, now we won’t show young people’s accounts in Explore, Reels or ‘Accounts Suggested For You’ to these adults. If they find young people’s accounts by searching for their usernames, they won’t be able to follow them. They also won’t be able to see comments from young people on other people’s posts, nor will they be able to leave comments on young people’s posts.

The company is also limiting the options advertisers have to reach young people on both Instagram and Facebook. All of the described changes are rolling out in stages to customers in the US, Australia, France, the UK and Japan before expanding to more countries soon.