Instagram Outlines Steps to Ensure That Black Voices Are Represented on Its Platform

It will focus on harassment, account verification, distribution, algorithmic bias

Instagram will address potential gaps in how its products and policies protect people bigtunaonline/iStock

Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri addressed concerns that Black voices were being suppressed on its platform and outlined plans to take a closer look at how its products impact communities differently.

Mosseri said in a blog post that areas of focus will be harassment, account verification, distribution and algorithmic bias.

He said the starting point for addressing inequalities faced by Black people on Instagram was specific safety issues they experience every day, both on and off its platform, and Instagram will address potential gaps in how its products and policies protect people.

Instagram will also examine its verification criteria in order to ensure that it is as inclusive as possible, with Mosseri saying Instagram “constantly” gets questions on whether the process favors some groups over others.

He pledged a review of how content is filtered on Instagram’s Explore tab and hashtag pages to gain a better understanding of where there may be vulnerability to bias. Mosseri added that Instagram must more clearly convey how decisions are made on distribution of posts in order to quell concerns about shadowbanning, or filtering people without transparency and limiting their reach.

Finally, Mosseri noted that machine learning runs the risk of repeating patterns developed by biases in society, saying that Instagram will take a closer look at its underlying systems and steps it can take to keep bias out of decisions.

He concluded, “This work is going to take some time, but we’re going to provide updates over the next few months—both about what we learn and what we address. These efforts won’t stop with the disparities people may experience solely on the basis of race; we’re also going to look at how we can better serve other underrepresented groups that use our product. In the past year alone, the feedback we’ve received from communities like LGBTQ+ groups, body positivity activists and artists has helped us build a more inclusive product. Our goal is that Instagram is a place where everyone feels safe, supported and free to express themselves, and I’m hoping this work will get us closer to that goal.” David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.