Instagram has announced it will now show potential hate speech lower down in your feed, lulling you with a gentle string of thirst traps and puppies before hitting you with the racism.
Revealed in a blog post on Thursday, Instagram says it is taking “stronger action” against posts which might contain bullying, hate speech, or may incite violence — by making you scroll for a bit longer before seeing them in your Feed or Stories. This means you could soon be spending a little more time on the image sharing platform before seeing a disgusting post which makes you close the app.
“If our systems detect that a post may contain bullying, hate speech or may incite violence, we’ll show it lower on Feeds and Stories of that person’s followers,” the post says. “To understand if something may break our rules, we’ll look at things like if a caption is similar to a caption that previously broke our rules.”
It makes sense that Instagram wouldn’t want to immediately remove posts which only may contain objectionable content. However, the platform also doesn’t remove posts that independent fact-checkers determine do contain misinformation, preferring to de-prioritise them instead.
“At Instagram, we’re always trying to show you content from the accounts you engage with and have the most value to you, while minimizing the likelihood that you come across content that could be upsetting or make you feel unsafe,” wrote Instagram. “We’ve always removed content that goes against our Community Guidelines, and use our Recommendations Guidelines to determine the types of content we show in Reels and Explore.”
Instagram also announced it will now take into account your reporting history when deciding what posts to show you. While Instagram’s algorithm prioritises posts based on how likely it thinks you’ll interact with them, it will now also de-prioritise posts it thinks you’re likely to report, as determined by your reporting history.
“If our systems predict you’re likely to report a post based on your history of reporting content, we will show the post lower in your Feed,” wrote Instagram.
All these changes are focused on individual posts rather than entire accounts, meaning that an innocuous post from a hate-filled account won’t be penalised under the new policy. But hopefully you will be able to just keep scrolling obliviously, never knowing that the pretty sunset photo Instagram just recommended was taken at a white nationalist rally.