Wednesday June 19, 2019
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Instagram Unveils New Feature in a Bid to Reduce Self-harming Content

In September 2018, Instagram introduced a "prompt" feature aiming to curb drug abuse and substance sales on the platform

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Instagram
Instagram app logo is displayed on a mobile screen in Los Angeles. VOA

In a bid to reduce exposure of minors to self-harming, provocative and disturbing content on its platform, Instagram has launched the “sensitivity screen” feature that blurs questionable pictures and video-thumbnails on the app until the viewer opts in.

The new feature — that has already reached users in India — blocks images of cutting and self-harm that could pop-up in search, recommendations or hashtags and influence minors into physical danger, Vogue.co.uk reported on Wednesday.

Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, announced the rollout of “sensitivity screens” in an op-ed he wrote for The Telegraph, expressing grief on the suicide of British teenager Molly Russell whose parents blamed the photo-messaging app for exposing their daughter to self-harm and suicidal content.

“We are not yet where we need to be on issues of suicide and self-harm. We need to do everything we can to keep the most vulnerable people who use our platform safe,” Mosseri wrote.

The announcement comes after UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock issued a warning to Instagram-owner Facebook to improve protection for young people on its apps or face legal action.

People are not interested in political or controversial images on Instagram Wikimedia Commons
People are not interested in political or controversial images on Instagram. Wikimedia Commons

“We already offer help and resources to people who search for such hashtags, but we are working on more ways to help,” Vogue.co.uk quoted Mosseri writing in the op-ed.

The company claims to have been working with engineers and trained content reviewers to figure out ways to make finding self-harm images harder on the app.

“At Instagram, nothing is more important to us than the safety of the people in our community and we do not allow posts that promote or encourage suicide or self-harm. We rely heavily on our community to report this content and remove,” Mosseri added.

Also Read- Important For Public Figures to Have Sense of Responsibility, Says Anupam Kher

In September 2018, Instagram introduced a “prompt” feature aiming to curb drug abuse and substance sales on the platform.

Prompt’s “get support” option has three more options to direct people looking for help against drug-abuse issues to recovery and treatment organisations. (IANS)

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Instagram Testing a New in-app Account Recovery Process

The new recovery process is aimed at letting users recover an account from within the app itself, rather than having to lean on the security team

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Instagram
Instagram app logo is displayed on a mobile screen in Los Angeles. VOA

To offer more assurance in recovering hacked accounts, Facebook-owned messaging app Instagram is testing a new in-app account recovery process.

To control cases where the hackers alter username and contact data linked to the accounts, Instagram is offering a safeguard which would prevent any username from being claimed for a “period of time” after account changes, whether it is a hack or a voluntary change.

As part of the new test process, for recovery, users are being asked to fill in their personal information such as their original email address or phone number and later send them a six-digit code to the contact information of their choice, Engadget reported on Sunday.

The new method is intended to ensure account recovery even if the hacker alters the username and contact information linked to the account.

With this process, the photo-messaging app also intends to prevent hackers from using email or phone number codes to take over accounts from different devices, the report said.

instagram
With a 1-billion user-base worldwide, the app still does not allow web users to post Stories from the desktop. Pixabay

For now, details on the wider availability of this in-app remains unclear, although the username lockdown has been made available to all Android users now which is being deployed to iOS users as well.

Presently, to recover a hacked account, users have to either wait for a recovery email or fill out a support form, making the process time-consuming.

Also Read- Microsoft Launches Smart Phonetic Keyboards for 10 Indian Languages

The new recovery process is aimed at letting users recover an account from within the app itself, rather than having to lean on the security team.

Instagram’s decision comes two months after its parent company Facebook admitted to have “fixed a security issue” that had been saving passwords of 200-600 million users in plain text and “readable” format since 2012, which were also searchable by over 20,000 of its staff members. (IANS)