Instagram to Re-evaluate Policies to Better Represent Black Voices

17 June, 2020 (Wednesday)

In the aftermath of the gruesome murder of George Floyd, an unimaginable number of people came together to fight racial injustice with the #BlackLivesMatter movement both on the streets and on social media. As an expression of solidarity with the movement, Instagram CEO, Adam Mosseri, wrote in a blog that they will be revising their policies to better represent the black community and other minorities on the platform and to raise awareness about equality.

He further addressed the prevalent issues like harassment, shadowbanning(limiting people’s reach), content take-downs that are unfairly biased against the black community. He then added that they would on these by reexamining a few key areas of their product and how it impacts communities differently.

These include

  1. Harassment: They plan on addressing the safety issues Black people have to face day-to-day, both on and off the platform. This will help them identify gaps in how the platform policies protect them from those issues
  2. Account verification: They will look into the current verification criteria and make changes to ensure that the platform is as inclusive as possible. The aim is to eliminate any prevalent biases in the verification process. 
  3. Distribution: They will review how the content is filtered on their Explore and Hashtag pages to identify areas of bias that may exist. They will soon release further information on the types of content that they avoid recommending on Explore and other places. This should promote transparency and not limit people’s reach based on any kind of biases.  
  4. Algorithmic bias: Some algorithms tend to repeat the patterns developed by the prevalent biases in society. They will work towards preventing such subconscious bias in their products by re-examining the systems that these algorithms are built on to make the decisions bias-free.

Adam Mosseri further added, “These efforts won’t stop with the disparities people may experience solely based on race; we’re also going to look at how we can better serve other underrepresented groups that use our product. In the last year alone the feedback we’ve received from communities like LGBTQ+ groups, body positivity activists, and artists has helped us build a more inclusive product.”

Instagram will provide updates in the following months on what they learn and address. The goal is to make Instagram a safe and supportive platform for people to express themselves freely.