Instagram announced a new set of features to help protect its users from abusive and racist comments, following the hate comments directed at UK footballers after the Euro 2020 final.
“We have a responsibility to make sure everyone feels safe when they come to Instagram. We don’t allow hate speech or bullying on Instagram, and we remove it whenever we find it,” Instagram chief, Adam Moserri said in a blog post. (Read: Want A Feel-good IG Feed? Follow These 5 Local Artists On Instagram Right Now)
The Facebook-owned platform is launching Limits and Hidden Words to curb racist and hate comments often received by public figures and other users. It will also display “stronger warnings” for people who try to post potentially offensive comments.
To prevent unwanted comments and direct messages (DM) from random users, the Limits feature will automatically hide comments and DM requests from users who don’t follow you or who only recently followed you.
“Limits allows you to hear from your long-standing followers while limiting contact from people who might only be coming to your account to target you,” Mosseri explained. (Read: Vatican Asks Instagram to Investigate ‘Mysterious Like’ by Pope’s Account)
If you want to enable this feature, just go to your privacy settings to turn it on or off whenever you want. “We’re also exploring ways to detect when you may be experiencing a spike in comments and DMs, so we can prompt you to turn on Limits,” Mosseri added.
This feature lets the users automatically filter offensive words, phrases, and emojis into a Hidden Folder that they never have to open if they don’t want to. It also filters DM requests that are “likely to be spammy or low-quality.”
“We launched this feature in a handful of countries earlier this year, and it will be available for everyone globally by the end of this month,” Moserri reiterated.
Instagram recently added a new opt-in option to “Hide More Comments” that may be potentially harmful, even if they may not break our rules. The list of potentially offensive words, hashtags, and emojis has been expanded as well.
The app assured that it will continue updating the list frequently to help protect users from abuse in their DM requests.
Since 2020, Instagram already shows a warning every time someone tries to post an offensive comment. But this time, if the user tries to post potentially offensive comments multiple times, a “stronger warning” will appear, reminding the users of its Community Guidelines and warning them that the app may remove or hide their comment if they proceed.
Instead of waiting for the second or third comment, Instagram will show this stronger message the first time. (Read: Aesthetic Notes: Follow These Instagram Accounts for Inspiration!)
“We hope these new features will better protect people from seeing abusive content, whether it’s racist, sexist, homophobic, or any other type of abuse,” Moserri underscored.