Instagram has announced a new Sensitive Content Control setting for its app, which will modify how many “upsetting” or “offensive” images users might see in the Explore panel.
Sensitive Content, as Instagram defines it, is content that is allowed on Instagram’s platforms and do not breach its Community Guidelines, but “may not be eligible for recommendations.”
This includes “content that may depict violence, such as people fighting … that may be sexually explicit or suggestive, such as pictures of people in see-through clothing [and] that promotes the use of certain regulated products, such as tobacco or vaping products, adult products and services, or pharmaceutical drugs”.
Instagram also points out that content like this can breach its guidelines if it is “graphically violent”, contains adult nudity or sexual activity, or if it is trading or selling regulated goods. The new option can be found in the settings of the Instagram application.
“We believe people should be able to shape Instagram into the experience that they want”, Instagram said in a blog post. “We recognize that everybody has different preferences for what they want to see in Explore, and this control will give people more choice over what they see.”
The move is part of a greater change by Instagram to give users more control over the platform. The social media giant had previously updated the app to allow bulk deletion of comments, or blocking specific users from a post’s comment section, in 2019.
This change also comes as the social media company came under criticism for its lack of action against abuse and harassment campaigns, such as that which targeted the England team after the Euro 2020 finale.
While Instagram’s actions do allow users more control over the content they see, it does also pass more responsibility to the users and away from Instagram – a flaw that critics of its moderation policies see in other tools, such as content removal being predicated on users reporting posts, especially in groups where users are unlikely to discourage each other’s behaviour.