Facebook has introduced a new feature that allows you to limit the amount of potentially sensitive content that appears in your Instagram Explore tab. The new Sensitive Content Control setting, according to Facebook, will let you to “watch more or less of some types of sensitive content,” which may be “upsetting or objectionable.
Instagram warns that sensitive content may include sexually suggestive or violent messages, as well as those that promote tobacco or pharmaceutical use, on its support page for Sensitive Content Control. This decision appears to be based on Facebook’s Recommendation Guidelines, which govern what can be displayed on the Explore page, rather than the Community Guidelines.
A request for comment from Facebook on how much of a difference the setting makes in the amount of potentially sensitive content that is shown to a user went unanswered. The explanations in Facebook’s screenshot of the feature, which you can see at the top of this page, are a little hazy, though: the Limit Even More setting doesn’t guarantee you won’t see sensitive information; it merely says you’ll see fewer things that “may” be distressing.
Sensitive Content Control simply gives users more options about how much they want to be exposed to potentially upsetting content in the Explore tab. Sensitive Content Control merely gives users more options about how much they want to be exposed to potentially distressing content. Posts that flat-out violate Facebook’s policies will still be removed.For example, Facebook claims that content depicting a fight or people wearing see-through clothing may be deemed “sensitive,” and hence should not appear on the Explore tab for people who have sensitive content restrictions. However, even if Sensitive Content Control was set to “Allow,” “graphic” violence or nudity would be removed from the site and would not appear.
This news comes at a time when many social media platforms, particularly photo and video sharing platforms, are grappling with how to deal with content that may be unpleasant to some users but engaging to others. TikTok implemented warning messages for potentially disturbing videos last year, while Pinterest just established a restriction on weight loss advertisements. Instagram strives to block out photographs that could be potentially upsetting for those with eating disorders, and also gives tools to users looking for disordered eating-related information. Although today’s update does not appear to signify a significant change to the Explore page, it should allow users more choice over what they view.
Today’s statement doesn’t appear to promise a significant change to the Explore page, but it should allow users more control over what they see there.