Instagram launches feature to tackle hate speech, abuse

Facebook Inc’s Instagram is rolling out a feature to prevent users from viewing possibly abusive messages by filtering offensive words, phrases, and emojis on the photo-sharing app.

The company said on Wednesday that along with the filter option for abusive direct messages, it will also make it harder for people blocked by users to circumvent and contact them through new accounts.

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Instagram has been pushing on its efforts to tackle hate speech and online abuse on its platform, which is more popular than Facebook’s main app among teens and young adults.

The filter, which can be activated on Instagram in privacy settings, can be customized by users to include words, phrases, and emojis that they wish to block or avoid receiving in their message requests.

Earlier this month, an advocacy group called on Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg to not create a version of the photo-sharing app Instagram for children who are under 13, as it would put them at “great risk”.

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The letter to Zuckerberg from the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) comes at a time the world’s largest social network has been criticized for amplifying misinformation globally across its platforms, while also exposing children to inappropriate material. 

Social media platforms have long been under scrutiny for how they handle hate speech, violent content, and other abuses on their platforms.

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Written by Atif Hasnain


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