Instagram CEO announces plan to better support Black users
In light of the brutal killing of George Floyd and the racial discrimination protests stemming from it, Instagram is moving to take steps to better support Black communities. The CEO of the Facebook-owned company, Adam Mosseri, has announced a series of areas they will look into to make sure that the platform becomes as inclusive as possible for Black users. Here are more details.
Concerns prevailing over whether Instagram suppresses Black voices
In a blog post, Mosseri claimed while people have used Instagram to elevate Black people, many have also raised concerns over whether the platform suppresses Black voices and treats everyone equally. "We're a platform that stands for elevating Black voices," he emphasized, but also acknowledged that there have been cases of Black users being harassed, afraid of being 'shadowbanned', and targeted with content takedowns.
To make things right, Instagram will review key areas
Now, to make things right and the platform as inclusive as possible, Mosseri said they will identify and weed out the challenges underrepresented groups face while using Instagram. For this, he said, the company will review its policies and product behavior around a few key areas, where complaints of bias have been reported by Black users and other minorities.
What are the focus areas?
Mosseri detailed four key areas: harassment, verification, distribution, and algorithmic bias. For harassment, he said, the company will look into safety issues Black users face on Instagram and change its policies to make sure the community is protected from those problems. Meanwhile, for verification, it will conduct a full review so that the verification process remains inclusive and no particular group is favored.
Content filtering and algorithmic bias
In the segment of distribution, Instagram plans to review "how content is filtered on Explore and Hashtag pages to understand where there may be vulnerability to bias" and be more transparent around post-distribution and what content might not be promoted on the platform. Finally, it will also take a look at whether its system algorithms are biased against a particular group in any way.
Work going to take months
Mosseri noted that this work will take months but they will continue to provide updates on what has been identified and addressed. Plus, he clarified that these efforts will also be directed towards removing inequalities against other underrepresented groups using Instagram, as well.