Facebook said on Wednesday that it is beefing up tools on its photo-sharing app Instagram to combat offensive comments, abusive private messaging requests, and hate speech on the social media platform.
“Today, we’re announcing new features to help protect people from abuse on Instagram: the ability for people to limit comments and DM [direct message] requests during spikes of increased attention; stronger warnings when people try to post potentially offensive comments; the global rollout of our Hidden Words feature, which allows people to filter abusive DM requests,” the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, said in a statement.
The tech company said it had developed the new features to give people more control over their experience on Instagram and help protect them from abuse.
The Facebook-owned app has faced criticism for allowing hateful content to thrive on its platform. After the recent Euro 2020 final, which resulted in a significant spike in racist abuse toward players, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that social media giants like Facebook and Instagram could face hefty fines if they failed to combat racist content. Several English soccer team players faced attacks on social media after their defeat to Italy.
Citing own research, Instagram stated that users do not want to switch off comments and messages entirely and still want to hear from their community. As a result, the giant tech company is introducing limits that allow users to hear from their long-standing followers while limiting contact from people who might only be coming to their accounts to target them.
The social network hopes “these new features will better protect people from seeing abusive content, whether it’s racist, sexist, homophobic, or any other type of abuse.”