Instagram launches ‘limits’ to hide offensive posts

Instagram has announced new features designed to limit abusive posts during “sudden spikes”.

The new “limits” feature automatically hides comments and posts from people who don’t follow – or have just started following – users who enable it.

It’s designed to stop abuse by large numbers of people “just piling up in the moment,” according to Instagram.

The company specifically cited the racist abuse after the Euro 2020 men’s football final as an example.

After England’s defeat in a penalty shootout, black players were subjected to a torrent of racial abuse, including on social media platforms.

The level of abuse led to calls from the Prime Minister and others to social networks to do more to prevent this – as well as several subsequent arrests.

In July, Facebook-owned Instagram told BBC News it had made “mistakes” in moderating the abuse, later promising to take a closer look at the software system.

Instagram said the new features are designed to protect people from “a sudden rush” of negative attention.

“Creators and public figures sometimes experience sudden spikes in reactions and DM [direct-message] requests from people they don’t know,” the announcement reads.

“In many cases, this is an outpouring of support – like they’re going viral after winning an Olympic medal.

“But sometimes it can also mean an influx of unwanted comments or messages.”

Rather than forcing known users to completely disable all comments and posts, the new tool allows anyone to effectively mute those who aren’t “longstanding followers”.

And it can be turned on or off at any time, Instagram said.

The company also announced that it is rolling out its previously announced Hidden Words system to everyone worldwide.

Instagram said it had also “expanded” the block list of words, hashtags and emojis that automatically blocked the system from filtering abusive messages, which individual users can also customize.

And it had bolstered the language of pop-ups when users attempt to post “a potentially offensive comment,” warning that their accounts could be removed for repeated violations.



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