Instagram has been criticized that it did not do enough in order to remove trolls and hate speech from its network for long. Previously, Instagram came up with the “Comments Moderation” feature, where users could automatically block all the comments featuring certain words. Within the last year, a number of companies have been trying to combat hate speech and harassment on social networks, including such giants like Facebook (which owns the company) and Twitter. Instagram policy has been changed to combat hate speech, and seems it is matching up with its counterparts.
Previously, the European Commission has issued a code of conduct, the aim of which was to make hate speech illegal. Google+, the daughter company of Alphabet Inc. (Google), and Facebook agreed to remove any comments that contain hate speech and/or harassment within 24 hours after having the comment reported. The Commission also admitted that such companies like Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook, and Google have already made positive changes and delivered encouraging results.
Many users think that the tech giants don’t do enough in order to combat harassment on social media, and the change of Instagram policy may be seemed as a good sign
Vĕra Jourová, the European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, commented it in the following way: “The Internet must be a place where any person would feel safe; it must be freed from racist and xenophobic content, from hate speech.” She also added that “the Code of Conduct has been proven to be a very useful tool in tackling such issues like hate speech and promotion of racist content.”
The EU Commissioner seems to be satisfied with the present-day results and, in particular, with the change of Instagram policy. She went on to claim the following: “All this shows that certain results can be achieved if there is a cooperation between the civil society, tech companies, and policy makers. This way, we will make the Internet safer while preserving the freedom of speech. I also urge the IT companies to show the equal resolution in helping to fight terrorism.”
The Commission also reported that, according to the statistics delivered by non-governmental organizations and public bodies, two thirds of all hate speech that has been reported was removed, as this indicator grew from 28% in 2016 up to 59% in the second quarter of 2017. Moreover, the tech companies tend to review the most of the reported content within 24 hours – around 80% of such content is reviewed within this time. This figure almost doubled within a year.
Despite such efforts, there have been numerous concerns that such removals of the content may deprive the users of the freedom of speech and actually trigger censorship. Among the companies that were criticized the most the leader is Facebook, which also recently apologized for wrong decisions about the posts that were reported and seemed to be extremely offending.
By the way, you can also learn how to protect your Instagram account.