Hate speechSource: Instagram

What you need to know

  • Instagram has announced new tools to combat fake news and hate speech on the platform.
  • Its fact-checking program is being rolled out globally.
  • It is also introducing a new feature that notifies users of potentially offensive content in their captions prior to posting.

Instagram is pushing out new tools to combat misinformation, fake news and hate speech on its platform.

In two statements released on 16 December, Instagram revealed firstly that its fact-checking program would be rolled out globally to allow fact-checking organizations around the world to assess and rate the information on Instagram. As Instagram states:

When content has been rated as false or partly false by a third-party fact-checker, we reduce its distribution by removing it from Explore and hashtag pages. In addition, it will be labeled so people can better decide for themselves what to read, trust, and share. When these labels are applied, they will appear to everyone around the world viewing that content – in feed, profile, stories, and direct messages.

Instagram also uses image matching tech to find content that has been shared to try and stop the spread of misinformation once it's been identified. It will also work cross-platform between Facebook and Instagram, so anything flagged on one will automatically be labeled on the other. If a piece of content is labeled, a link is provided to a rating from the fact-checker, as well as links to credible sources with the correct information on the subject.

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Also announced is Instagram's new hate speech filter. With regards to online bullying, a new Instagram feature will now notify people when captions on their photos and videos might be considered offensive prior to posting, so that they can reconsider. Instagram says it has been testing AI that can recognize bullying on Instagram. The feature has previously been tested on comments that might be considered offensive with "promising" results.

Today, when someone writes a caption for a feed post and our AI detects the caption as potentially offensive, they will receive a prompt informing them that their caption is similar to those reported for bullying. They will have the opportunity to edit their caption before it's posted.

The anti-bullying feature will be rolled out in select countries initially, with global expansion in the coming months.