Pinterest is rolling out some new privacy features which are specifically designed to better protect younger users, including private profiles, mutual messaging restrictions, and updated controls over who can follow you in the app.
First off, on private profiles, from now on, Pinterest users aged 16 and over will be able to opt into a private or public profile.
As explained by Pinterest:
“Once private, you’ll still be able to connect with your friends and family by sending a unique profile link. Private profiles are not discoverable by others on the platform and will remain the default and only option for teens under the age of 16.”
Earlier this year, Pinterest announced that the profiles of all users aged 16 and under would be made private by default, and would not be able to be switched to ‘public’. It’s now softening that stance for users 16 and up, though teens under 16 will still only be able to have a private account.
So it’s a slight change in policy, which essentially gives older teens more leeway in managing their in-app experience.
Pinterest is also enacting more follower controls for teens, with all followers set to be removed from the profiles of users under the age of 16. Teen users will then be asked to review their follower list, to ensure that they know who, exactly, is able to see their content.
That means that any teens who’ve built a following in the app will have some work to do to curate their audience, but it will ensure that teens have better knowledge of who’s able to engage with their Pins.
Pinterest is also instituting new parameters for messaging and group board invites for teens:
“Teens under the age of 16 will only be able to send and receive messages from mutual followers who have been accepted through a unique profile link that expires after 3 days or when they get 5 new followers with the shareable link, whichever comes first.”
The process will effectively limit connections to only the users that teens specify, which will make it harder for randoms to connect with youngsters in the app.
Pinterest is updating its safety measures for youngsters after a report released earlier this year found that predators had been using the app to gather images of underage girls via their Pinterest presence. The NBC report found that some users had been able to circumvent Pinterest’s existing safety features to access young user profiles, which had enabled them to both view and save content, and make contact, with youngsters in the app.
These new measures are designed to provide enhanced safety for youngsters, which is a critical focus for all social apps.
It’s hard to know how effective that will be, especially as users can still lie about their age in the sign-up process. But Pinterest continues to roll out more tools to protect youngsters, which will hopefully enable more safety and control.
You can read about Pinterest’s latest safety updates here.