For some, the idea is akin the thought-policing, but it appears that Instagram will be moving forward anyway.
Social media has been the ultimate battleground for free speech in 2019, as the First Amendment continues to butt heads with the corporate middle men who control our expression. All manner of social media outlets have been doing their damnedest to curb hate speech on their platforms, which itself is a noble cause. True hate speech, by its very nature, pushes the impressionable toward violence. It doesn’t have to be explicit, mind you, but the breadcrumbs left online by white nationalists and other hate mongers can ensnare the young and malleable minds of America far too easily.
The problem today lies in the definition of hate speech that these social media giants utilize. In far too many cases, these platforms are choosing their own definitions based solely on the political views of their leadership team. This has led to many a conservative voice being silenced simply because they expose a facet of the liberal world that social media magnates didn’t want the world to see.
Now, in a stunning and dystopian maneuver, Instagram is looking to throttle the free speech of its users before they even post.
Adam Mosseri, the head of Facebook-owned Instagram, said the company is willing to make decisions that keep its users safe from online bullying, even if it leads to decreased usage.
“We will make decisions that mean people use Instagram less if it keeps people more safe,” Mosseri told Time in an article published Monday.
That sounds benevolent enough, but the potential for abuse in the system is far too great.
Instagram on Monday announced the launch of a new AI feature that will notify users when a comment they write could be considered offensive before they post it. Instagram said it will also soon begin testing a new feature called “Restrict” that will allow users to hide comments from specific users without notifying those users that they’ve been muted.
Mosseri has stressed this at all-hands meetings and in an emails to his employees, current and former Instagram employees told CNBC in May. Mosseri also announced in April that Instagram would begin experimenting with hiding like counts as a way to make the social network “a less pressurized environment.”
Of course, there has been no public disclosure of the terms and verbiage that will be targeted, leaving many to wonder if Instagram will use a universally accepted definition of hate speech or their own.
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