How to curb hate on Instagram? New safety features Limits and Hidden Words aim to help – Detroit Free Press

Posted By on August 11, 2021

Instagram launches new privacy changes to protect young teens

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As a steady stream of scrutiny over online hate intensifies, Instagram said it is introducing new anti-hate and abuse safety measures.

Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram,said Wednesday theapp will attempt to protect its more than 1 billion users fromseeing abusive,racist, sexist andhomophobic content.

Instagram's new Limits feature, available starting Wednesday, will automatically hide comments and direct message requests for users from those who don't follow them or recently started following them.

Mosserisaid the platform will be issuing "an even stronger warning" where it halts immediate posting the first time when someone tries to post a potentially offensive comment to users, instead of waiting for the second or third time. Instagram is also rolling out globally itsHidden Words feature by the end of the month, which allows usersto filter abusive direct messagerequests.

"We have a responsibility to make sure everyone feels safe when they come to Instagram. We dont allow hate speech or bullying on Instagram, and we remove it whenever we find it," said Mosseri in a blog."We also want to protect people from having to experience this abuse in the first place."

Mosseri said last month that Instagram was testing the anti-harassment tools. Thenew features come afterFacebook said late last month that it's taking several steps to make Instagram saferand private for teens.Theyinclude automatically defaulting teen usersunder 16 into private accounts, making it harder for potentially suspicious accounts to find teens,limiting the options advertisers have to reach those younger viewers with ads and using AI to detect users' age. And lawmakers continue trying to prevent a proposed Instagram for kids under 13.

Regarding Instagram's latest safety steps on curbing hate and abuse, the platform still isn't doing enough, saidAriel Fox Johnson, the senior counsel forglobal policy at advocacy group Common Sense Media told USA TODAY. Fox Johnson said while Common Senseappreciates that Instagram is recognizing that hate and abuse are on the platform, "hiding it" and giving "stronger warnings" doesn't seem sufficient.

"Even Instagram recognizes there is more to do here," Johnson said."During a time when they are planning to move into a space for children, it's critical that they focus on creating a healthier space for adults and getting that product right, not moving onto kids."

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They're not the only advocacy group critical of Instagram.Groups like GLAAD,the LGBTQ advocacy organization, said in firstSocial Media Index reportreleased in May thatthe social media platforms like Instagram have a "circuit breaker" to slow down the harassment, bullying, and misinformation and discrimination, but they don't want to do it because they are monetizing off of it.

Among the key findings in GLAAD's report ofspecial concern among the platforms is "the prevalence and intensity of hate speech and harassment, which stands out as the most significant problem in urgent need of improvement." Among its recommendations for Instagram included to "refine (its) algorithms to reduce hate, not spread it," and improving its process to report hate speech and extremist content.

And, theAnti-Defamation League (ADL), recently gave Facebook,along with Instagram, a combined grade of C- on whether the platformsdoing enough to combat antisemitism in its annual online antisemitism report card.

As for its new features, Mosseri said Instagram developedLimits after hearingcreators and public figures frequently "experience sudden spikes of comments and direct messagerequests from people they dont know."

"Now, if youre going through that or think you may be about to you can turn onLimitsandavoid it," Mosseri said. "Limitsallows you to hear from your long-standing followers while limiting contact from people who might only be coming to your account to target you."

As for sending stronger warnings to users who try sending a possibly offensive post multiple times, Mosseri said,"rather than waiting for the second or third comment, well show this stronger message the first time."

Mosseri added that Instagram willcontinue to work and invest in organizations focused on racial justice and equity. and look forward to further partnerships with industry, governmental and non-governmental organizations to help root out hate.

"This work remains unfinished, and we'll continue to share updates on our progress," he said.

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How to curb hate on Instagram? New safety features Limits and Hidden Words aim to help - Detroit Free Press

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