Facebook takes action to protect Instagram users from abuse on the platform

Wednesday 11-08-2021 11:34

Facebook has introduced a series of measures designed to protect Instagram users from abuse on the platform. They include the ability for people to limit comments and DM requests during peaks of heightened attention; stronger warnings when people try to post potentially offensive comments; and the global rollout of Instagram’s Hidden Words feature, which allows users to filter out abusive DM requests. The movements were revealed in a blog post by Instagram manager Adam Mosseri.

When the Limits feature is enabled, it automatically hides comments and DM requests from people who don’t follow the user or who only recently followed them. Facebook said it has research showing that much of the negativity towards public figures comes from people who don’t follow them, or who have only recently followed them, and who simply “pile up in the moment.” Limits allow users to hear from their longtime followers, while limiting contact with people who might only come to your account to target them. The feature is deployed worldwide today.

On the warnings when people try to post abusive comments, Instagram is currently posting an initial warning, followed by a stronger warning if the user tries to post potentially offensive comments multiple times. This explains why the comment can be deleted or hidden if it continues. Now, rather than wait for the second or third comment, Facebook has said it will show this post louder the first time around.

Finally, to combat abuse in private messages and comments, Facebook is deploying hidden words, previously only available in a few countries around the world. This allows users to automatically filter offensive words, phrases and emojis in a hidden folder, which never has to open. It also filters out DM requests that are likely to be spam or of poor quality. The feature will be available worldwide by the end of the month.

Separately, Facebook has also deleted hundreds of accounts operating from Russia which it said were involved in anti-vax disinformation campaigns. The campaign involved recruiting influencers to undermine confidence in COVID-19 vaccines by spreading false information about them.


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