Instagram targets abuse, racist comments with new tools

Instagram targets abuse, racist comments with new tools
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Instagram will let users limit comments and direct messages from people who don’t follow their account as part of a series of updates the platform is launching to mitigate abusive and racist comments. 

The feature is aimed at decreasing the abusive posts targeting public figures and creators, but will be open for all users on the platform to use, according to the company’s blog post published Tuesday. 

If users turn on the new “Limits” setting, Instagram will automatically hide comments and direct messages from people who don’t follow the user or who recently followed them. 

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The update targets “sudden spikes” users can see in comments and direct messages from people they don’t know, such as after the racist attacks targeting Black players of the English national soccer team after the recent Euro 2020 final, head of Instagram Adam Mosseri said in the blog post. 

The feature was created in a way that allows users to hear from “long-standing followers” to build community relationships, while also limiting contact form people who “might only be coming to your account to target you,” Mosseri wrote. 

The platform is also exploring ways to detect when a user may experience a spike in comments or direct messages to prompt users to turn on Limits in privacy settings. 

Instagram is also updating its policy around showing warnings when users try to post a potentially offensive comment. The platform will now show a “stronger warning” on a first attempt that was previously shown after a second or third attempt. 

The photo-sharing platform is also expanding its “Hidden Words” feature, which allows users to automatically filter offensive words, phrases and emojis into a folder, globally later this month. The Hidden Words feature was first announced in April.