At long last, Instagram is cracking down on racist and derogatory content within its direct messenger function. Hate speech will now lead to permanent account suspensions.
Instances of racism on Instagram are once again receiving mainstream attention, and parent company Facebook is determined to finally nip the issue in the bud once and for all.
Policing content within people’s private messages is a tetchy task and brings to head a bunch of issues involving privacy and freedom of speech.
However, with instances of racist abuse not just continuing to propagate, but becoming more commonplace within Instagram’s direct messaging function, the social network has now been forced to toughen its stance on hate speech content.
This week is Black History Month, so I thought it would be good to hand over my account to one of our Black employees to talk about the work we’re doing to celebrate the month, Black creators, and Black businesses.#instafam #shareblackstories #myblackjoy #thisweekoninstagram pic.twitter.com/yVrIx3rWOa
— Adam Mosseri 😷 (@mosseri) February 5, 2021
A stricter hate speech policy
Previously, when a user sent a DM deemed to have breached Instagram’s hate speech policy, company moderators would prohibit that person from sending messages for a set period of time.
As of today though, Instagram has announced that instances of violation within DMs may result in permanent suspensions, and repeat offenders will quickly be exiled from the platform. It also states that any troll accounts created solely to sidestep restrictions will be found and removed too.
Instagram has been firm in its zero tolerance of racist and anti-religious sentiments for some time now – reportedly detecting and penalising 6.5 million unreported instances of hate speech (including DMs) between July and September last year.
The app also put in place several comment filter tools which allowed users to stop certain phrases or emojis from appearing in their DMs and tile comments.
Despite these efforts however, instances of implicit abuse – particularly racism – have shot up with disturbing frequency in recent weeks, and all eyes are on the big social media platforms to adapt faster.
Would you believe it’s currently Black History Month?
This is a disgrace 🤬
These ignorant idiots need to be exposed so everyone can see them for what they are! pic.twitter.com/jGZiAEnVHv
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) January 28, 2021