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.
#Instagram is working on nudity protection for chats 👀ℹ️ Technology on your device covers photos that may contain nudity in chats. Instagram CAN'T access photos. pic.twitter.com/iA4wO89DFdSeptember 19, 2022
#Instagram keeps working on nudity protection for chats by adding a setting to enable/disable it 👀 pic.twitter.com/t8AjPYxozjSeptember 27, 2022
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.
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.
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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