Instagram will now reduce visibility of ‘potentially harmful’ content

Deepak Gupta
Deepak Gupta January 21, 2022
Updated 2022/01/21 at 2:46 AM

Instagram is taking new steps to make less visible content in your app. The company says the algorithm that drives how posts are ordered in users’ feeds and Stories will now de-prioritize content that “may contain bullying, hate speech or incite violence.”

While Instagram rules already ban much of this type of content, the change could affect borderline posts or content that hasn’t yet reached the app’s moderators. “To understand if something might break our rules, we will look at things like whether a caption is similar to a caption that has previously broken our rules,” the company explains in an update.

So far, Instagram has tried potentially objectionable content from public-facing parts of the app like Explore, but it hasn’t changed the look and feel for users who follow accounts that post this type of content. The latest change means that posts deemed “similar” to those that were previously removed will be much less visible even to followers. A spokesperson for Meta confirmed that “potentially harmful” posts can still be removed if the post violates their community guidelines.

The update follows a similar shift, as Instagram began demoting accounts that shared misinformation that was debunked by fact-checkers. Contrary to that change, however, Instagram says the latest policy will only affect individual posts and “not accounts in general”.

Additionally, Instagram says it will now take into account each individual user’s reporting history in how it sorts its feeds. “If our systems predict that you are likely to report a post based on your reporting content history, we will show the post at the bottom of your feed,” says Instagram.

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