Instagram is taking a more active role in stamping out anti-social and concerning behavior on its platform, introducing new tools - and even removing post like counts - in order to focus on user well-being.
The latest measure on this front is an update to its policy enforcement processes, which will see the platform implement time-based accruals of policy violations, which will also enable the implementation of new warnings for accounts that are close to being banned.
As explained by Instagram:
"Under our existing policy, we disable accounts that have a certain percentage of violating content. We are now rolling out a new policy where, in addition to removing accounts with a certain percentage of violating content, we will also remove accounts with a certain number of violations within a window of time."
The measure will give Instagram more capacity to take action against repeat offenders by limiting their capacity to stay just within the rules by removing the violating posts. Now, they'll also have an ongoing record, so even if they do take action on the highlighted posts, they could still face penalties for ongoing concerns.
That also adds another level of complexity to Instagram's enforcement process - with users being held to account by their record, it will mean that each violation, even those which have been applied incorrectly, takes on more importance.
Because of this, Instagram is also rolling out an improved appeals process, available from within the app, to have incorrectly attributed account strikes removed.
"To start, appeals will be available for content deleted for violations of our nudity and pornography, bullying and harassment, hate speech, drug sales, and counter-terrorism policies, but we’ll be expanding appeals in the coming months. If content is found to be removed in error, we will restore the post and remove the violation from the account’s record."
Up till now, users have had to go to the Help Center to lodge an appeal - the new process will be integrated directly into the violation note, which will make it easier for users to rectify issues.
It's good to see Instagram taking more action to address concerns with user well-being - which, in many ways, reflects lessons learned from parent company Facebook, which has traditionally built systems first, then sought to address potential problems much later. Now, Facebook management understand a lot more about the potential issues that come with large scale operations of this kind, and if Instagram can get on top of them as it continues to rise, that should help alleviate such ahead of broader expansion, lessening problems down the line.
Aside from that, it's just good policy. Facebook is also at the stage where it doesn't need to expand at all costs, it doesn't need to push to boost user counts and squeeze maximum usage out of everyone, in order to generate the most revenue possible. That gives it the flexibility to focus on user well-being concerns - and as Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has noted, while such changes could, potentially, impact growth, that's a risk they're willing to take.
That should make Instagram a safer, more inclusive space for all users, and it's good to see the platform increasing its action on this front.