Technology

Instagram’s new tools to prevent abusive content in direct messages


Instagram’s new tool will automatically filter DM requests containing offensive words, phrases, and emojis, preventing recipients from seeing the messages in the first place

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Instagram said it has added new features to combat hate speech and abusive content on its platform. The image-sharing platform will focus on protecting its billion users from abusive direct messages (DM) and blocking harassers on the app.

The Facebook-owned app has faced criticism for allowing hateful content to thrive on its platform. The company has said it took down 6.5 million pieces of hate speech, including DMs, between July and September last year. Last year, it started using artificial intelligence (AI) to warn users before they post hurtful comments.

Instagram’s new tool will automatically filter DM requests containing offensive words, phrases, and emojis, preventing recipients from seeing the messages in the first place. Users will have a choice to switch on the filter under ‘Hidden Words’ in Privacy Settings, the company said in a statement.

Also Read | Google, Instagram lack effective policies against self-sabotaging behaviour: report

The image-sharing platform has worked with several anti-bullying and anti-discrimination organisations to enlist the offensive words. Users will also be able to create their own custom list of words they do not wish to see. Once filtered, the messages will be moved to a separate hidden requests folder, allowing users to report or block the sender.

In the next few weeks, Instagram will also allow users to block specific accounts along with preemptively blocking new accounts the person may create. This will prevent harassers from contacting a user through multiple accounts, the company said.

Additionally, Instagram will also hide misspellings of offensive words from comments filter list, to prevent users from seeing them.

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