On Instagram you now decide how much sensitive content you see

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Instagram launched something new yesterday: the Sensitive Content Control tool. This allows you to determine how much and which so-called ‘sensitive content’ is shown on your explore page. On this page, which can be found under the tab at the bottom when you click on the magnifying glass, you will see photos and videos based on the algorithm. So you don’t follow these people or companies, but Instagram thinks you might find the content interesting. It can just happen that you are presented with images that do not fit your alley at all, even though they are not against the guidelines of Instagram.

Offensive images

We don’t know exactly what Instagram considers sensitive content. Nude images are prohibited on the platform and images of sexual acts as well. However, you can see content that is nevertheless suggestive. Bare buttocks and breasts – without nipples because it remains Instagram – can be found or presented without any effort. Violent images may also appear in your timeline. And sexual and violent images can be offensive.

How does the control work?

According to Instagram, the check works like this: Some photos and videos contain content that users have indicated they do not want to see. This will not affect what you see in your timeline of people you follow. But so on your explore page. In general, it involves content that may be sexually suggestive, violent, or about drugs or firearms. You can indicate yourself whether you want to see content with potentially sensitive content.

There are 3 levels:

  • To allow
  • Restrict (this is the default setting)
  • Limit even more

You set this up as follows:

  • Go to Settings
  • Click on Account
  • Go to Sensitive Content Control

18+ content

The top option ‘Allow’ is not available for people under the age of 18. In this way, Instagram hopes to prevent young people or children from seeing offensive images, even if they want to see them themselves. That is of course a bit of a sham, but logical that the option is there in this way. As an adult you decide which of the 3 levels you set and can change it at any time.

Content Recommendations

We took a closer look at the platform’s explanation of its content recommendations. The content you see on the explore page. There are five categories of content that are allowed on Facebook and Instagram but may not be suitable for recommendations. Below is a list of these categories (indicated by Facebook), as well as some examples of content in each category.

  • Content that talks about self-harm, suicide, or eating disorders. (The platform removes content that encourages suicide or self-harm, or explicit images).
  • Content that contains violence such as fighting people. (The platform removes violent content.)
  • Content that may be sexually explicit or suggestive, such as images of people in see-through clothing. (The platform removes content that contains nude adult images and sexual acts.)
  • Content promoting the use of certain regulated products such as tobacco products or e-cigarettes, erotic products and services, or medicines. (The platform removes content that attempts to sell or trade most regulated goods.)
  • Content shared by a non-recommended account.
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