• Google said it will block age and gender-based ad targeting for teens.
  • It also said it will remove minors’ photos from search results if requested.
  • The changes come as Google and others, like Instagram, face pressure to add protections for young users.

Google is adding some safety guards for minors who use its services that will afford them more privacy.

The company announced in a Tuesday blog post that it will start blocking ad targeting “based on the age, gender, or interests of people under 18.” The block will be effective across all of its platforms, including YouTube.

Google also said it would start allowing users under the age of 18 to request their photos be removed from Google search results. Google said removing minors’ photos won’t erase them from the internet, but it will still “give young people more control of their images online.”

Other changes include making the upload setting on accounts of teens aged 13 to 17 private by default, though they can change it to public if they wish. Google will also add reminders for young users to take breaks while using YouTube and will turn off autoplay.

The updates will go into effect in the coming months, according to the company.

The changes come as Google and other internet platforms face pressure to protect young users online. Google did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, but a company spokesperson told TechCrunch “some of these updates directly address upcoming regulations” that lawmakers are developing for the industry.

YouTube’s Kids platform launched in 2015 for kids under 13 but was reportedly investigated in 2019 by the Federal Trade Commission over how it handled minors’ videos. Insider found that the majority of kids were using the regular YouTube app to use the service, not the kid-focused version.

Instagram’s also recently rolled out policy changes that allow younger users to remain more private. The platform made the accounts of users under the age of 16 private by default upon signing up, though they can change it to public if they wish to. And TikTok made a similar change in January when it made some teens’ accounts private by default.

Instagram also blocked ad targeting based on user interest but not age and gender.

A picture of a switch and lightbulb

Sign up for notifications from Insider! Stay up to date with what you want to know.
Subscribe to push notifications