Instagram is looking at ways to tackle harassment for public figures as its utmost priority right now, said CEO Adam Mosseri. At the Facebook Fuel for India 2020 conference earlier today, Mosseri, in conversation with popular Instagram content creator Kusha Kapila, highlighted the work that the company has so far managed to do with regulating acts of bullying on Instagram, while affirming that right now, it is regulation of harassment on the platform that takes top priority.
During the session, Mosseri also touched upon Instagram working on adding tools that would allow various businesses and creators to monetise their content, while also explaining how ‘shadow bans’ work – and why they are necessary for the platform.
Dealing with bullying and harassment
“We keep hearing that this (harassment) is all about the comments, so that’s one of the things that we are working to try and solve,” said Mosseri. For bullying, he says that the first step lies in accepting that the problem will exist no matter what, which is what helps them build solutions for it, from scratch. It is this that has helped the platform to create tools that try to solve the fundamental issue behind bullying – a psychological power shift between two users.
It is this that apparently led to the strategy Instagram has applied right now. As Mosseri says, “We are proud of our ‘restrict’ button. It helps users retain what we call ‘plausible deniability’, so that the bully doesn’t know when you’ve restricted them. When they comment on your post, they won’t know that it won’t show up. It’ll look like they’ve commented, but it won’t show until you personally allow it. You can also see a message without a read receipt, and it shows up in the other inbox.”
Enabling creators, preventing violations
Monetisation is also key to Instagram’s future, Mosseri admitted, as he stated that the platform’s number one priority are its millions of original content creators. “But, we’re also talking about small and large businesses, retailers, etc. Depending on what business you run, there are different ways to leverage our platform and make money. We want to make a suite of services over time, to make sure that different businesses use different services as there isn’t one solution that fits everybody. We hope to create a whole set of tools, so that it suits any business that wants to work on Instagram,” says Mosseri. However, he also adds that Instagram should have already done more on this front.
Mosseri also touched upon ‘shadow bans’ on the app, which he underlines is a direct impact of a creator violating specific community and content guidelines on Instagram. He highlights that Instagram automatically informs a user about a content being taken down as a result of a report or an automatically detected breach, and subject to this act repeating, the account itself can be deleted. All of these aspects comprise the various forms of shadow bans, which directly arise as a result of the nature of content that users share on the platform.
Finally, he also touched upon the spree of updates to the app in 2020. “It’s always a tough balance – on one hand, ease is why people joined the platform. On the other, the world’s changing, and if we don’t adapt then we fall behind. So 2020 has been a different year, and we felt the need to respond to a lot of the changes accordingly,” Mosseri concluded.