Instagram to reset algorithms to limit inappropriate content

Posted on April 12, 2019


Facebook-owned photo sharing platform Instagram will be resetting its algorithms in a bid to stop the spread of harmful and inappropriate content to its users.

The algorithm change will see the platform halt the practice of suggesting content to users that are deemed inappropriate but do not quite break the site’s rules and guidelines, after the company had been accused of exposing younger users to harmful content through its Explore section.

From now on, the site will no longer be giving content the benefit of the doubt if it is a borderline case for adhering to or falling short of the site’s guidelines. Instead, this content will be blocked from appearing in the Explore section, which recommends posts to users based on hashtags they use and follow, accounts they interact with and similarity to posts in their regular news feed.

Any post that falls into the category of inappropriate will now find it harder to gain traction on the site, only appearing in the news feeds of the users that follow the account that posted the content. The site has confirmed that the type of content that will be contained moving forwards include sexually suggestive images as well as graphic and violent content. Any posts deemed to be fake, misinformation or spam will also face the wrath of the new clampdown.

The move was announced in a blog post by the company on March 29th, explaining that it will be taking stronger steps to remove hate from the platform, beginning by reducing posts that are inappropriate from spreading.

Over the past couple of years, parent company Facebook has been under fire for the way it handles the spread of misinformation and hate speech and, despite putting measures in place to tackle these issues, it has so far largely struggled to get on top of these issues.

Instagram has also started training a set of content moderators that will flag this borderline content. Furthermore, Will Ruben, Instagram’s head of product discovery has stated that machine learning AI is also currently being used to distinguish whether certain posts should be recommended and therefore appear in the Explore section or not.

This latest plan from Instagram was met with both positive and negative reactions from creators of content, with many depending on the Explore page and sets of hashtags. For posts to gain traction, being recommended and appearing in the Explore section is key in order to find new followers. Therefore, some creators have expressed concerns that these changes will diminish the potential reach of their posts in these sections of the site, affecting chances to earn from monetised posts.

Operations Manager at Engage Web
Drawing from a broad pool of experience that ranges from university studies in English Language to his work as a medical receptionist in a busy GP practice, Alan fits right at home as Engage Web’s Operations Manager.
Alan Littler

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