About a month ago, Instagram announced that it would make accounts for minors private by default. New users under the age of 18 (or 16 in some regions) signing up to the platform would automatically be assigned private accounts and those with existing public accounts would be made aware of the benefits of going private.
One of these benefits is that private accounts allow users to control who sees or responds to their content. If you have a private account, people should follow you to see your posts, stories, and reels. While this may help protect minors from unwanted adult contact, from a content creator’s perspective, it could also hamper their efforts to reach a wider audience.
Influencers under the age of 18 who choose to keep profiles private will need to manually accept each follow-up request. Their content also won’t appear in places like Explore or hashtags to people who don’t follow them, reducing the reach of each post.
Alina Namazi, a 16-year-old digital content creator who started creating content in March 2020 and has already racked up 180,000 subscribers, believes the new rule will discourage aspiring influencers. “I would never have been able to be where I am today if I had signed up on Instagram and my account had to be ‘private by default’,” she said.
Samreen Ali, 17, who gained popularity last year for his ‘Types of Parlor Wali’ video, agrees. She believes that in the absence of an audience, an Instagram account for influencers or creators does not make sense. “If I were a normal user between the ages of 13 and 18, I would choose a private account by default. As a creator, I will definitely not choose a private account. I will choose a public account to reach the audience and create content to grow further, ”she said.
Business mode enabled
Lakshmi Balasubramanian, founder of digital marketing agency Greenroom, doesn’t think the new rule will pose a problem for young influencers or designers, however. “It may not have a huge impact on the ecosystem of creators per se, as those who want to become creators will simply make their profile public and continue to build an audience,” she said.
A Facebook spokesperson clarified that users have the option to switch to public accounts at any time, including during registration. They also added that the default private would not apply to Instagram business accounts, as these are “designed for those looking to grow their audience, get discovered and drive business growth. business”.
Preference for private
Even before the new update, Instagram reports that users have shown a marked preference for private profiles. According to their research, eight in ten young people accepted the default private settings when they signed up.
Subramanian said this is a growing trend among teens today. “Regardless of Instagram’s setting, most young Instagrammers seem to prefer a private profile view. And this, despite a good number of followers. It is only once they decide to monetize with relationships with brands etc. increasing over the past year.
Mumbai-based digital content creator Tarini Shah believes the new update makes the platform safer for creators, especially when faced with toxic or negative comments from other users. “I personally had a public account when I was 16 and saw my fair share of good and bad that comes with the platform. The age of 13-18 is a very vulnerable time in the life of a teenager. I think initially protecting teens from the part of social media that may harm them is a thoughtful step taken by Instagram, ”she said.
Gen-Z digital content creator Taneesha Mirwani, who recently moved to the United States, doesn’t think the default of private is a problem for creators because they have the option to go public at any time. But she cautions those under 18 to consult with a parent, guardian or mentor before making their profile public. “I believe it takes a great emotional and mental capacity to take responsibility for having a great platform. That’s not to say that someone between 13 and 18 can’t take it. (But) I would advise them just to talk to someone or have a support system (in place) because a career like this can really take its toll, ”she said.
Case by case
Namazi, who had a private account but changed it to a public account when she started creating content, believes users should decide for themselves what type of account and at what age they think they’re ready for an account. public.
“Having a public account comes with a number of responsibilities and powers to the public. For a teenager, I think it can get a bit overwhelming at times. If this situation (the new rule) had happened to me, I would definitely wait until I was the right age and then I would think about whether I want a public account or not, ”she said.