News & Events, Tech

Instagram now let’s you control how “provocative” your feed is

Sensitive Content Control is here.

words by: Sahar Khraibani
Sep 13, 2021

Instagram has introduced a new tool that allows users to customize how “provocative” their feed seems. With the new Sensitive Content Control function, Instagram users may choose how much risky content they wish to see on the Explore page — the portion of the app where you can see posts from people you don’t follow.


Official announcement

The business announced its Sensitive Information Control tool almost two months ago on July 20. Filtered posts from users’ feed may contain sexually explicit or violent photos that don’t violate Instagram’s community guidelines, however, they do take a toll on users.


In a statement, the Facebook-owned site stated:

“We’ve always had rules about what kind of content can be on Instagram, which we call Community Guidelines, and the point of these guidelines is to keep people safe. We don’t allow hate speech, bullying, and other content that might present a risk of harm to people. We also have rules about what kind of content we show you in places like Explore; we call these our Recommendation Guidelines. These guidelines were designed to help ensure that we don’t show you sensitive content from accounts you don’t follow. You can think of sensitive content as posts that don’t necessarily break our rules, but could potentially be upsetting to some people – such as posts that may be sexually suggestive or violent.

This new feature gives you control over sensitive content. You can decide to leave things as they are, assuming you’re satisfied with your experience today, or you can adjust the Sensitive Content Control to see more or less of some types of sensitive content. We recognize that everybody has different preferences for what they want to see on Explore, and this control will give people more choice over what they see.”


It compared the new Sensitive Content Control function to previous versions that let users disable comments on their posts and prevent other Instagram users from interacting with them. Pornography, hate speech, brutally violent photos, content that encourages self-harm or suicide, and posts attempting to sell firearms or narcotics are already prohibited on Instagram. But these kinds of posts are not inclusive of what may be triggering to certain people and not to others.


The sensitive content control is more subtle, affecting content that doesn’t break the rules but doesn’t follow Instagram’s Recommendation Guidelines, such as posts that are sexually suggestive, discuss self-harm or eating disorders, depict violent acts, or promote regulated goods.


How to activate it

Users may access the function by going to their profile, tapping the Settings menu in the upper right corner, selecting ‘Account,’ and then selecting ‘Sensitive Content Control.’ They can leave the filter at its default level of ‘Limit,’ alter it to ‘Allow,’ to see more sensitive content, or change it to ‘Limit Even More,’ to impose even more limitations.


The popular image-sharing platform continues to walk a fine line between censorship content and subject users to content they may find objectionable. In 2017, the social media app started blurring certain posts even if they followed their community guidelines.


However, even though this seems benevolent, a lot of users found it to be another way for the app to censor creators’ content without really thinking more of it. Some artists and freelance creatives took a stand against this new feature, saying it may hinder their art from being proliferated, even going as far as calling it a censorship of freedom of speech and creation.


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