Instagram’s CEO says the platform is examining how its policies affect black users

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri said Monday that the platform is taking steps to “better support the black community” and will review how it recommends content and deals with harassment and verification. Mosseri didn’t provide specifics about what the Facebook-owned photo sharing app will do, but he laid out some key areas where Instagram has heard complaints from black users about bias.

“The irony that we’re a platform that stands for elevating Black voices, but at the same time Black people are often harassed, afraid of being ‘shadowbanned’, and disagree with many content takedowns, is not lost on me,” Mosseri said in a statement.

Mosseri said Instagram is “hearing concern” about whether it suppresses black voices and if it treats everyone equally in its products and policies. “This is a moment when people around the world are rightfully demanding actions over words, and we owe the same to our community.”

He said the company will focus on four areas: harassment, verification, distribution, and algorithmic bias. To address harassment, Mosseri said the company will look at specific safety issues its black users experience on and off Instagram, and how it can protect people from those issues. It’s also going to examine whether the criteria it uses to verify Instagram users is inclusive, since it’s received questions about whether that process favors certain groups.

Instagram also will review how its content is filtered to see if there is bias involved, and it will be more transparent about how it distributes people’s posts. It’s also going to “take a harder look” at whether algorithmic bias is having an effect on its decision-making.

Mosseri said Instagram will also examine how well it’s serving other underrepresented groups. “Our goal is that Instagram is a place where everyone feels safe, supported, and free to express themselves, and I’m hoping this work will get us closer to that goal,” he said.

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