Instagram is testing new features designed to help people deal with racism, hatred and harassment on its platform.
The biggest among them is one called “Limits” which allows users to lock their accounts if they are subjected to harassment.
This is just one of a number of changes the app is making to respond to criticism that it did not protect Euro 2020 footballers when they were racially insulted on the platform.
After Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho missed penalties in the finals of the tournaments, they were hit by a wave of abuse, mostly racist, on their personal Instagram.
Some of these comments stayed available for much longer than expected, despite Instagram pledging to proactively monitor these players’ accounts. Instagram said it mistook some comments as benign when in fact they were against its guidelines.
The announcement came after the app’s CEO Adam Mosseri admitted that it made “mistakes” in responding to hate speech and racism.
“Racism is not acceptable and has no place on Instagram,” he wrote on Twitter.
“It is important to us that everyone feels safe and comfortable on our platform. We’re getting better and better at identifying and eliminating hate speech and racism, but we make mistakes and we need to do more. “
Mr Mosseri said he was “on vacation” for a few weeks and missed the wave of racism and criticism that swept the platform.
In a video posted on Twitter, he referred to existing functions on the pages such as the tools for blocking other people or the “Restrict” function. The latter means that users can approve user comments before they are published publicly.
Mr Mosseri said upcoming features like limits would be useful not only for large accounts but also for smaller ones. He found that the tool could, for example, help people who “are going through a breakup or have just changed schools”.
“Whatever it is, we know that sometimes people are in transitory moments of real pain risk, and we want to give them tools to protect themselves in those situations,” he said.