October 26, 2022

Instagram to Censor Private Messages?

  • Analysis, Home

By Jackson Kincaid

In Brief: 

The photo sharing social media application Instagram, owned and operated by Meta (formerly Facebook), has announced that it will now be censoring private and direct messages. The platform will be censoring messages by using its “Hidden Words” features, a feature introduced in 2021.

The Background: 

The feature, called “Hidden Words,” was introduced last year, but was not a default setting. Instagram creators could go into their settings and enable it, but the tool was not in wide use. But that is about to change. 

Instagram has now announced it has teamed up with “anti-discrimination” organizations who are compiling a list of censored terms for the platform

According to Breitbart: 

Hidden Words uses a “predefined list of offensive terms” and filters DM requests and Story replies that contain these terms into a separate hidden requests folder. Instagram says it worked with “leading anti-discrimination and anti-bullying organizations” to develop the list of terms.

Users of Hidden Words can also create their own list of custom words, phrases, or emojis that they want filtered from DM requests and Story replies. However, the predefined list of terms that was developed by Instagram and the anti-discrimination and anti-bullying organizations isn’t revealed to users.

Instagram said that it would also be expanding its Hidden Words filtering to “spot and hide more intentional misspellings of offensive terms, for instance, if someone uses a ‘1’ instead of an ‘i.’”

In addition to the word-filtering tool, Instagram also plans to expand “nudges,” a system that warns users when they are about to reply to a message or a comment that the platform’s systems consider to be “offensive.”

Notable Quotes: 

“Building a recommendation system across all these types of content is something we’re uniquely focused on.” -- Mark Zuckerberg

What do you think?