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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 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 Launches Beta Version if its in-app Shopping Feature in US

Instagram's plans on rolling out the feature globally remain unclear

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FILE - The Instagram icon is displayed on a mobile screen in Los Angeles. VOA

Facebook-owned photo messaging app Instagram has launched the beta version of its in-app shopping feature in the US that would allow over a billion users to buy products tagged in images or videos without having to leave the platform.

Called “Checkout with Instagram”, the feature would allow US users to shop from over 20 brands including Adidas, Kylie Cosmetics and Warby Parker, without re-directing users to other websites.

“We will introduce a selling fee to help fund programmes and products that help make checkout possible, as well as offset transaction-related expenses,” TechCrunch quoted an Instagram spokesperson as saying on Tuesday.

The photo-messaging app would charge sellers making sales an undisclosed amount of fee.

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“We aren’t sharing the specific number right now. We are testing a selling fee with businesses during the closed beta. It will not change the price of the items for consumers,” the spokesperson said.

Checkout tags would appear on feed posts, Stories and Explore content from the brands in the closed beta that Instagram plans to eventually open to more businesses.

Also Read- Apple Unveils New AirPods Designed to Deliver More Talk Time

For now, those who use Instagram’s shopping feature can pay with PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover, the report added.

Instagram’s plans on rolling out the feature globally remain unclear. (IANS)