Instagram tests nudity filter for direct messages

Alessandro Paluzzi / Instagram
(Image credit: Alessandro Paluzzi / Instagram )

Instagram is developing a new nudity filter to weed out unsolicited nude messages sent over direct messages. The development was discovered by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi (opens in new tab), who shared the news on Twitter and has since been confirmed by Meta, the company who own Instagram and who are also Facebook’s parent company.

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Looking at the screenshots tweeted by Paluzzi, who is making a name for himself in reverse engineering apps in order to discover upcoming features, these suggest that Instagram will process images for this feature on device, meaning nothing will be sent to its servers. Users look to be able to choose to see a flagged photo if they think it’s from a trusted person, too. The second shared screeshot clearly shows that the feature will be an optional setting for users who don’t want to see messages with nude photos.

Development confirmed 

Talking to TechCrunch, Meta spokesperson Liz Fernandez said: “We’re developing a set of optional user controls to help people protect themselves from unwanted DMs, like photos containing nudity.” “This technology doesn’t allow Meta to see anyone’s private messages, nor are they shared with us or anyone else. We’re working closely with experts to ensure these new features preserve people’s privacy while giving them control over the messages they receive,” Fernandez continued. 

"Poor job at addressing online harassment"

Pew Research Center survey

A Pew Research Center survey of adults in the US this September found that 41% have personally experienced some form of online harassment and that as online harassment permeates social media, the public is highly critical of the way these companies are tackling the issue. “Fully 79% say social media companies are doing an only fair or poor job at addressing online harassment or bullying on their platforms,” states the report. Indeed then, it is definitely a feature we look forward to welcoming on Instagram, which has 1.3 billion users worldwide. 

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Rachael is a British journalist with 18 years experience in the publishing industry. Since working on www.digitalcameraworld.com (opens in new tab), she’s been freelancing, and contributing to some of the world’s best-loved websites and magazines including T3.com and TechRadar.com and has also had a book, iPad for Photographers, published. She's currently acting as editor of 5GRadar.com - a website specializing in the latest cellular technology.