Social Media

Instagram to implement tougher rules to reduce abuse, hate speech in direct messages

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on February 11, 2021 Published on February 11, 2021

New measures include removing the accounts of offenders

Instagram is looking for more ways to crack down on hate speech that users receive in their Direct Messages (DMs) on the platform.

The photo sharing platform is looking for ways to reduce the abuse that is “happening a lot” in people’s DMs, “which is harder to address than comments on Instagram,” it said in a blog post.

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“We’re announcing some new measures, including removing the accounts of people who send abusive messages, and developing new controls to help reduce the abuse people see in their DMs,” it said.

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Tougher action

The platform will take tougher action on users breaking Instagram’s rules and sending abusive messages on DMs. Currently, it prohibits such users from sending any more messages for a set period of time.

“Now, if someone continues to send violating messages, we’ll disable their account. We’ll also disable new accounts created to get around our messaging restrictions and will continue to disable accounts we find that are created purely to send abusive messages,” it said.

The platform will also work with law enforcement authorities on hate speech and will respond to valid legal requests for information in these cases, it said.

Currently, Business and creator accounts have the option to turn off direct messages from accounts that they do not follow. Instagram has also started rolling these controls out to personal accounts in many countries and is looking to make them available to everyone soon, it said.

“We recognise that seeing abusive DMs in the first place takes a toll. We’re currently working on a new feature designed to help with this very issue, which will incorporate feedback from our community. We hope to launch it in the coming months,” it further said.

The platform has policies that ban attacks on people based on their protected characteristics, including race or religion as well as content depicting Blackface and common antisemitic tropes.

The stricter action on hate speech followed a situation in the UK where footballers in the country were targeted with racist online abuse following a match.

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Published on February 11, 2021
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