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Instagram users now allowed to decide who can follow them

Instagram members now allowed to decide who can follow them
If you think that Facebook-owned apps already get too much of your personal data, you're not going to be happy when we tell you that starting today, Instagram wants to know your birthday. However, this data is only required when creating a new account. Instagram says that its Terms of Use call for account holders to be at least 13 years of age in most countries. By requesting a new account holder's birthday, Instagram can make sure that no one underage has an account. Instagram also says that it will "help us keep young people safer and enable more age-appropriate experiences overall." Of course, birthdays can be faked and this doesn't prevent an older person from creating an account for someone under 13 years of age.

If you open a new Instagram account and provide your birthday, other members will not be able to view your date of birth. You will be able to find it when viewing your own personal profile information. If your Facebook account is connected to your Instagram account, the birthday listed on your Facebook profile will be added to your personal profile on Instagram and again, only you will be able to see it. And if for some reason you need to edit your date of birth on Facebook, your birthday on Instagram will also reflect the edit.

Instagram is allowing members to decide who can follow them

Instagram does state that it plans on using the birthday information in the coming months to provide "more tailored experiences" including recommending to younger members certain privacy controls they should use and teaching them about account controls. "These newest updates are part of our ongoing commitment to ensuring Instagram remains a safe and supportive place, especially for the youngest people in our community," Instagram said today in a blog post.

And Instagram is also cracking down by allowing you to decide who can send you a Direct Message. Under Message Controls, you'll be able to choose from options like Everybody, which will allow you to receive new message requests from everyone except those who you have blocked, and Only People You Follow. With the latter setting selected, you won't receive new message requests and story replies from people you do not follow. Those you do not follow and haven't blocked will know that you don't accept messages from everyone.

You can also determine who can follow your Instagram account. Select Everyone and your account can be added by any Instagram member except those who you have blocked. Choose Only People You Follow and people you don't know won't be able to follow your Instagram account. Those you don't follow and haven't blocked will know that you don't allow everyone to add you to groups if they try to do so.

If you do not have the Instagram app installed on your mobile device, you can find it in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. The purchase of Instagram by Facebook for $1 billion back in 2012 turned out to be one of the most profitable investments in tech history. As of last year, Bloomberg estimated Instagram's value as a standalone company north of $100 billion. The app has more than 1 billion active monthly users and is the second most popular social network following Facebook. Instagram originally provided filters for photographs before it borrowed the Stories feature from Snapchat helping it to become the immensely popular online destination that it now is. And with 71% of its users under 35, Instagram is demand by advertisers looking to reach a decidedly younger demographic.

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