File picture: Reuters
File picture: Reuters

Instagram new update aims to tackle hate speech in DMs

By Masabata Mkwananzi Time of article published Feb 11, 2021

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Instagram continues to protect its users from hate speech by issuing tougher consequences to those who use hate speech in direct messages (DMs).

The company announced that it will start disabling the accounts of people who continuously send hateful messages and for first-time offenders, Instagram will prohibit those users from sending any messages for a period of time.

“Currently, when someone sends DMs that break our rules, we prohibit that person from sending any more messages for a set period of time. Now, if someone continues to send violating messages, we’ll disable their account. We’ll also disable new accounts created to get around our messaging restrictions, and will continue to disable accounts we find that are created purely to send abusive messages,” said Instagram in a blog post.

The new update to hate speech comes after a number of soccer players in the UK were targeted with hate-fueled messages on Instagram after losing a match.

Prince William, who is also the president of England’s Football Association, had a few words to say regarding the racist comments that soccer players were subjected to on his Twitter page.

“Racist abuse - whether on the pitch, in the stands, or on social media - is despicable and it must stop now,” the tweet reads.

He also commended all the players, supporters, clubs and organisations who continue to call out and condemn this abuse in the strongest terms.

Instagram said its hate speech policy does not tolerate attacks on people based on their protected characteristics, including race or religion. The company also strengthened its policy last year by banning more implicit forms of hate speech like content depicting Blackface and common anti-Semitic tropes.

The company added that when it comes to hate speech they are constantly improving their detection tools so they can find such things quickly.

“Between July and September of last year, we took action on 6.5 million pieces of hate speech on Instagram, including in DMs, 95% of which we found before anyone reported it,” the company added.


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