Instagram exploring new tools to remove racist and other abusive messages from your DM
Instagram announced today in a blog that it is bringing new tools to help combat the threat of racism, harassment, and other abuses on its platform. The Facebook-owned company has faced numerous criticisms in recent months, particularly from the football world, after football players were subjected to various racial abuse on the social network.
“We recently shared an update on our work to combat abuse and hate speech on Instagram, which included stricter penalties for people who send abusive Direct Messages (DMs). Now, we’re announcing a new way to protect people from seeing abusive DMs in the first place, as well as the ability to prevent someone you’ve blocked from contacting you from a new account,” the company said in a statement.
Instagram’s new tool will be available in the coming weeks. However, it will only be available in a few countries, though they did not specify which ones before extending it to the rest of the world.
Protecting users from seeing abusive messages in DMs
Receiving abusive messages in your DMs, whether “racist, sexist, or homophobic,” is a very disheartening situation. Instagram believes that, “Nobody should have to experience” that on their platform. This is why, in their latest update, they are introducing a new tool that, when enabled, will automatically filter offensive words, phrases, and emojis from your DMs.
“Because DMs are private conversations, we don’t proactively look for hate speech or bullying the same way we do elsewhere on Instagram,” they stated.
Tracking offensive words in DMs is more difficult than in public comments. This is why Instagram requires you, the user, to manually activate this filter. This feature can be enabled in the ‘Hidden Words’ settings, which can be found under the ‘Privacy Settings’ menu. After that, you will be able to add your own ‘abusive’ words, phrases, and emojis. You will not receive any “DM request” related to them anymore.
“We’ve worked with leading anti-discrimination and anti-bullying organizations to develop a predefined list of offensive terms that will be filtered from DM requests when the feature is turned on.” they further stated that… ”We know different words can be hurtful to different people, so you’ll also have to create your own custom list of words, phrases, or emojis that you don’t want to see in your DM requests.”