This summer, Instagram was in the spotlight after Black soccer players in England were attacked with racist messages following their team’s loss in the Euro 2020 final. With the introduction and extension of three safety measures, the business is attempting to prevent some of that behavior from occurring again.
One of them is a concept known as “limits.” If you enable this, anyone who does not follow you or who has recently followed you will be unable to comment or send a DM. The function is currently available to everyone in the world, but Instagram notes that it will be particularly valuable to businesses and creators who anticipate a flood of reactions. Of course, turning off comments or direct messages totally would also work, but Instagram claims that this is a solution for individuals who still want to engage positively with their followers. When it senses a spike in activity, the business claims it’s “exploring approaches” to advise consumers to turn this function on ahead of time.
Instagram is also expanding its hidden words tool, which launched in April and allows users to automatically filter DMs containing objectionable words, phrases, or emojis and send them to a secret folder. The list of potentially objectionable words, emoticons, and hashtags has been expanded. Finally, those who attempt to publish inappropriate remarks will receive harsher warnings from the app. (This type of message existed before, but it only occurred when someone tried to publish many times.)
In a news release, the business states, “We hope that these new capabilities will better prevent people from encountering harmful information, whether it’s racist, sexist, homophobic, or any other type of abuse.” “We recognize that there is more work to be done, including enhancing our systems to discover and delete abusive content more rapidly, as well as holding people who create it accountable.”
The racial harassment of soccer players Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford, and Jadon Sancho prompted Prince William and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as well as the Football Association of England, to speak out. Instagram definitely needed to do something, and these new capabilities may be of assistance to those who discover them.