One of the largest content sharing social network in the world keeps evolving and improving as the number of its users keeps growing at an unstoppable rate. One of Instagram’s newest additions to its vast number of useful features is the recently introduced Sensitive Content Filter.
As a part of their Fostering a Safer, Kinder Community campaign it represents a part of a much bigger change that will improve privacy protection for its users. These changes also contribute to the improvement of overall user experience on the social networks that is visited by millions of people each day.
What’s it all about?
This change is a privacy enhancement feature that will try to improve the way users’ personal content is protected and displayed. It will also impact and somewhat affect how they share their content. Perhaps you noticed how Instagram tries to sanction and censor content that is in direct violation of its community guidelines.
In the past, people saw the various form of policy abuse that led to the appearance of inappropriate content. This somewhat led Instagram to tighten its policy when it comes to what is and isn’t possible to post and share on public and even private profiles.
You might have already experienced the first sign of this latest change – the blurred posts. From now on all users that are accessing content designated as being “sensitive” will have to first acknowledge their consent before getting access to it. This goes for any type of content that users might find as being “disturbing” or “offensive”.
From now on this means that profile pages of people and brands that you might be following will appear very different. The usual grid of posts will now also display blurred thumbnails. Of course, this doesn’t mean restricted access to sensitive content – it merely limits it to wide and possibly unprepared audiences.
What led to this?
Instagram has a long history with the outcry of “unprepared” users that were baffled by the amount of “sensitive” and “offensive” content that was being openly shown in page posts. To many, the biggest media sharing network offered and guaranteed a type of freedom where they could express their creativity and display it to similar minded individuals.
People became followers based on the interest that the content raised. For some time, it was the main appeal that lured new users and rapidly increased the overall number of daily visits to the site. And it was really good while it lasted.
Most users agree that community guidelines began to grow as a direct consequence of the violation of some of the otherwise usual policies that were already established on other big online networks. Instagram’s open flirt with openness and user’s freedom when it came to content sharing was judged mostly by the onlookers.
There were instances where scamming rings regularly formed and lured their victims with specifically designed posts. Needless to say, this is only a small example of all the bad things that were happening and an adequate reaction was inevitable.
Trying to patch things up
The reaction was swift and soon enough, restrictive guidelines were introduced. However, this did not stop people from finding ways to avoid the rules. People’s privacy was compromised and there was a way to even see private Instagrams with ease.
Something had to change or it would mean that offended users will leave the network which would spell disaster for the fast growing company. Soon enough censorship rose to power. This somewhat funny attempt to limit and prevent content with sensitive information from reaching users that may get offended – turned to be a farce.
No one in the industry managed to find a way of controlling information that is posted and shared every second by more than 100 million users each day. Online service providers will eventually find a way to control and affect the real-time data flow.
It’s only a matter of time. Meanwhile, there are shortcuts that somewhat alleviate such issues with content control and this latest feature that Instagram introduced is a very smart way of doing it.
Giving power back to the content creators
In a sense, this whole sensitive content blurring is a genius move. By giving its users a choice of tagging their possibly offensive posts they lessen the resources needed for data monitoring and control. The individual that may be offended by inappropriate content is protected and no longer in danger of being exposed as before.
Having to consent before accessing individual posts with a blur filter over them is a great deterrent to the more sensitive users. We applaud this decision as it will make a lot of people happy. If all of this may appear strange to you, consider the fact that teens are a big crowd on Instagram.
Exposing them to the inappropriate material can have serious consequences. Not to mention the fact that no one signed up to be shocked by the content they didn’t want to see in the first place.
As with all changes that are restrictive, there will always be an adjusting period. We like this new feature and feel that it will improve the overall user experience for both new and regular users on Instagram.
Privacy is always a major concern and every small step towards protection of individual rights of users is a great way of keeping them happy and returning back for more.