Instagram Is Updating Its Content Policy To More Actively Seek Out And Erase Harmful Content

Instagram is taking further steps in order to reduce the amount of harmful content that appears across the community’s user feeds.

Social media platforms in general have a content problem, and some of it is genuinely not their fault. It’s the sort of issue that arises from having a massive multicultural community ranging in the hundred million; not everyone’s needs can be catered to, and it’s always difficult to apprehend offenders across the board. Of course, some amount of successful headway has been made, but even that has many of its negative aspects. For example, Tumblr began a campaign of removing nudity from the platform, which, in a very bizarre turn of phrase, was explained to users as content featuring “female presenting nipples”. That naturally upset much of the social media platform’s userbase, with the community arguing that age-gating content was more than enough and with gender definitions considered widely fluid by many users, the mere notion of female presenting was moronic. Thus, the platform saw a massive exodus that it quite frankly still hasn’t fully recovered from. Tumblr’s days of being in the spotlight and a matter of relevancy are more or less done for.

However, then there’s the exact opposite of the spectrum, which comes from an absolute failure to enforce any particular regulations across the hosting platform. 4Chan is widely considered to be the host site for racists, supremacists, incels, and all forms of online derelicts. Derelicts, of course, is used here to represent middle aged white men with far too much free time, an internet connection, and their mothers’ handy basements. I joke, but I’ll leave it up to our fair readers to decide just how much. At any rate, even the likes of Facebook have been accused of poorly monitoring online content, with the social network blamed for being a major platform upon which the 2021 US Capitol Riot was planned. Yikes. Of course, Facebook denied such allegations, but then again it’s not like the platform is to be particularly trusted. Just rifle through any number of court orders, Congressional hearings, or governmental investigations against it.

Instagram’s much better than its sister platform in terms of content, but has also faced some amount of criticism in the wake of Meta whistleblower Frances Haugen’s leaked documents and memos. With visible, tangible proof displaying how Meta actively promotes content that can be harmful to users, promoting ideas of body dysmorphia or self-harm, Instagram’s been put under a rather sharp spotlight as well. In the wake of such allegations, Instagram’s decided to update its policy, now targeting content that will not only be harmful, but also adjacent to certain keywords that may be perceived as harmful.

Now, the policies haven’t been implemented yet, just announced, which means that there’s no real way of knowing how they will go over to the community. Will Instagram pull off the balancing act, or fall along the wayside with Tumblr and (shudder) 4Chan?

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