Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri recently announced that two new features, Limits and Hidden Words, are being added to the platform in order to stop online abuse and prevent users from becoming targeted for harassment. The measures were implemented in response to the online racist abuse Black U.K. soccer players suffered after England lost to Italy at last month’s Euro 2020 Finals.
“Racism and hate speech has no place on Instagram,” Mosseri asserted in his three-minute IG video. “It is not only f-cked up to see people treated that way, but it actually breaks how Instagram works… [w]hat we care about here is helping drive culture forward, and culture is disproportionately driven by underrepresented groups, particularly Black communities around the world.”
In the clip, Mosseri addresses some lesser-known features which already existed to curb online bullying, but Instagrammers may have been underutilizing, such as Block and Restrict. He then shared that the Hidden Words feature had been around for a while but only focused on comments and keywords; now, the capability will cover DMs, too.
However, the newest tool to protect IG users from harassers – as well as from themselves – is called Limits.
The Pew Research Center reports that 59% of American teens say they have dealt with online harassment and bullying, and 90% of US teens agree that cyberbullying is a legitimate problem. Furthermore, the antibullying charity Ditch the Label found that IG is the No.1 platform with the highest rate of online harassment among teenagers, so Mosseri cycled through some examples of how Limits can be applied.
“Maybe you’re in high school, and you’re going through a breakup, or you just switched schools,” he explained, “or maybe you’re a professional footballer, and you’re receiving a lot of harassment. Whatever it is, we know that people are sometimes in temporary moments of real risk and pain, and we want to give them the tools to protect themselves in those situations.”
The topics of online harassment and cyberbullying are very important to Mosseri, so much so that he paid a visit to The Breakfast Club a few weeks ago and talked about how IG’s algorithm separates benign promotion from hate speech, bots, Kim Kardashian, and more. Check out his thorough interview with DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlemagne tha God in the video below.