Instagram recommends sexually explicit reels (vertical videos) even for teens as young as 13. This was revealed by a test conducted by. Wall StreetJournal (WSJ) and Northeastern University professor Laura Edelson.

In a report published yesterday WSJThe tool explains that the tests were carried out between January and April 2024 and were run again in June and there was no difference in the results. To confirm the hypothesis, fake profiles were created representing 13-year-old teenagers, and from the very beginning Instagram began to show Reels with moderately spicy content.

Among the videos, there were also productions in which women performed sensual dances or focused on female bodies. According to the WSJ, fake accounts that watched such videos and skipped others began to receive even more explicit recommendations.


The algorithm would work non-stop to deliver sexual material to fake profiles. Suggestions included women simulating sexual intercourse, promising to send “nude” posts to everyone who commented, and people showing off their genitals. In one particular case, several videos related to anal sex were showing in the platform’s feed.

HE WSJ Professor Edelson even did the same experiment on TikTok and Snapchat. These social networks never recommended inappropriate content during testing. Even profiles that follow adult content creators did not receive this type of recommendation across the platforms.

What did Instagram say?

Despite testing conducted by a well-known newspaper and a university professor, Instagram spokesperson Andy Stone ignored the report.

“This was an artificial experiment that did not match the reality of how young people use our platform,” the manager said. He also added that the social network has made significant progress in this regard in recent months.

An old study among Meta employees had already revealed that young people were bombarded with sexual material.  (Image: Getty Images)

HE WSJ has said in the past that Meta’s internal research had already identified problems with harmful experiences young people were having when using Instagram. The company’s tests revealed very similar results.

The paper had previously conducted a similar test, leading Meta to announce a series of measures to tackle the problem in January. Following these measures, a new experiment was carried out and it was proven that they did not have the effect the company wanted.

Source: Tec Mundo

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