Instagram announced new measures yesterday to curb abusive and racist content on the image-centric social media app, following an onslaught of hateful comments directed at UK footballers after the Euro 2020 final.
The Facebook-owned platform has a new “hidden words” feature that enables users to filter abusive messages, use “stronger warnings” when people post potentially offensive comments, and limit comments and message requests during increased spikes of attention.
“We want Instagram to be a place for people to connect with the people and things they love. We also know that, just like in the offline world, there will always be those who abuse others. We’ve seen it most recently with racist online abuse targeted at footballers in the UK. We don’t want this behaviour on Instagram,” said the company in a statement on their website.
The UK incident in question refers to the backlash 19 year-old England winger Bukayo Saka faced on social media after he missed his penalty kick, sealing the victory for Italy in the Euro 2020 Final earlier last month.
Instagram chief, Adam Mosseri said the new measures were designed to reduce the spread of racist, sexist and homophobic content. He commented that the warnings already in place reduce the frequency of abusive comments by as much as 50 percent.
Today we’re announcing three updates to protect people from racism and abuse on Instagram. We don’t allow hate speech or bullying on our platform, and we hope these new tools will help protect people from having to experience abuse.
— Adam Mosseri 😷 (@mosseri) August 11, 2021
The tougher actions in place involve prohibiting a person who sends rule-breaking DMs, from sending any more messages for a set period of time. This includes disabling new accounts created to get around this.
The popular social media platform also hinted at an upcoming feature to further aid the issue of online abuse, in both DMs and comments, to lessen the toll it takes on its audience and hopes to launch it in the coming months.
“We’re committed to doing everything we can to fight hate and racism on our platform, but we also know these problems are bigger than us. We look forward to working with other companies, NGOs, governments, parents and educators, both on and offline.”
Slowly but surely, let’s all hope for a better and safer online space.