Let’s not kid ourselves, social media is a double-edged sword. For as much good, awareness, and positivity various social media sites can bring, there is just as much hate speech, abuse and bullying to accompany the light. And this is relatable globally, from the biggest influencers to smaller users who just want to post about which coffee they had that day, (which is perfectly okay, by the way.)
The power of our words holds great magnitude, and it is obtuse to think that just because whatever is being said is in digital format, it doesn’t have real life impact. The results of social media bullying are seriously traumatic and sometimes devastating.
Instagram is now attempting to protect their community with their latest feature announced on April 21.
“We understand the impact that abusive content – whether it’s racist, sexist, homophobic, or any other kind of abuse – can have on people. Nobody should have to experience that on Instagram. But combatting abuse is a complex challenge.” Instagram stated in their update announcement.
The announcement centred around tools that would filter out hateful DMs, or Direct Messages as these are a pivotal place of concern. They expressed that a lot of hate speech stems from direct messages, and a lot of the time from accounts the user doesn’t follow. As a result, their focus has turned to protecting people “from seeing abusive DMs in the first place”. This means a feature that will place any hateful or offensive DMs into a separate space.
IG has worked with numerous anti-discrimination and anti-bullying organisations to “develop a predefined list of offensive terms,” the social media giant announced.
The updated tools includes:
- Filtering out DMs that contain offensive words, phrases and even emojis
- A customising option that you can use to preset words you’d like filtered out, that are personally offensive to you
- A ‘covering’ option that hides the message even if you happen to go into it. You’ll then be asked to accept the request, report or delete it.
- The ‘Hidden Words’ setting under Privacy settings, which you can turn on or off.
- ‘Hidden Words’ allows you to activate the filtering out process, and additionally allows you to hide offensive comments too.
- You can select which terms or words you do not wish to feature in your comments section using ‘Hidden Words.’