With the amount of racsit slurs and abuse that has went down on the platform during the summer, Instagram has introduced and expanded three safety features that will limit abusive messages and comments on users’ posts. Among the new measure from the Facebook-owned platform, there is a feature called ‘Limits’ that prevents anyone who doesn’t follow you, or someone who recently followed you, from commenting or sending a direct message. This feature is being made available for every user starting today. Instagram points out that it will likely be most useful for businesses and influencers who expect many responses. While turning off DMs or comments will also work in terms of limiting abusive responses, Instagram says that it is exploring ways to preemptively suggest that people turn this feature on when it detects a spike in activity.
Apart from Limits, Instagram is also building a hidden words feature that launched in April and allows people to automatically filter DMs with offensive words, phrases, and emojis, relegating them to a hidden folder. The feature now has a more expansive list of potentially offensive words, emoji’s, and hashtags. Lastly, Instagram is also issuing stricter warnings to people who try to post offensive comments. While this kind of message already existed, earlier it only appeared if someone attempted to post multiple times. “We hope these new features will better protect people from seeing abusive content, whether it’s racist, sexist, homophobic or any other type of abuse,” Instagram said in a release. The company also said that it recognises that there is more to do, including improving its systems to find and remove abusive content more quickly, and holding those who post it responsible.
These features come after football players in England were subjected to online hate and racism after England’s defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 final, where Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, and Jadon Sancho missed penalties in the penalty shoot-out and were subjected to harassment.