How Instagram protects users from racist abuse

clock 9 months ago

Head of social, Abbie Swindell, discusses new updates made by Instagram to filter out racist abuse.

Instagram picture

In light of recent events that occurred after the Euros 2020 final, where England players faced even more racist abuse online, Instagram has rolled out new updates to help protect the platform users.

Instagram had previously rolled out updates in response to similar instances that included harsher penalties for anyone found sending abuse via Instagram DMs, and there’s also the option for personal accounts to switch off their DMs completely to people who they don’t follow. However, Instagram has now rolled out a new feature called ‘limits’.

About Instagram Limits

Limits allow users to block certain groups of people based on their activity on the platform.

Instagram will recommend groups that you may want to limit across your account, this will enable users to hide interactions from these profiles unless the account owner decides to manually view them.

To access limits,

“go to your privacy settings to turn it on, or off, whenever you want. We’re also exploring ways to detect when you may be experiencing a spike in comments and DMs, so we can prompt you to turn on Limits.”
(Source: Instagram)

About Content Warnings

Instagram is also working on improving its warnings on content that is offensive.

Currently, a warning is shown to users whose comments may go against Instagram’s community standards. However, the new warnings put in place include much harsher penalties at an earlier point to really limit the tolerance that the platform has for offensive content.

It’s said that Instagram showed around a million warnings per day on average. 50% of the time, the comments were edited or deleted as a result of the warning. (Source: Instagram)

About Instagram’s ‘Hidden Words’

Lastly, Instagram has also announced ‘hidden words’, which works within DMs.

The platform has filtered out potentially offensive words and emojis and if you received any messages which include these terms, the message will then sit in your hidden folder.

This acts more as a shield for the user, as they have the option of whether to view these messages or not. Instagram is also working on expanding the list of words and emojis and will continue to review this as time goes on.


It’s clear to see from the vile abuse endured by the England stars that we have an extremely long way to go. So, the more protection and penalties the platforms can introduce against these types of users, the better.

Racism is still very real and something everyone needs to work towards eliminating from society, and it’s a conversation that needs to be continued.

To find out more about the impact of racism within football, check out this episode of ‘The Truth About’.
How should you be responding to complaints on social media? Read the article here.
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