Facebook announces a new setting that lets you limit how much potentially sensitive content appears on the Instagram Explore tab. According to Facebook, the new sensitive content management setting allows you to “see more or less certain types of sensitive content,” which can be “shocking or offensive.” How much content the three levels, “Allow,” “Limit (Default),” and “Limit Even More” will or will not be displayed is pretty vague, and we’ve contacted Facebook for clarification.
On sensitive content management support page, Instagram says that sensitive content can contain sexually suggestive or violent messages as well as messages that promote the use of tobacco or drugs. Facebook is clear that this setting is based on it Recommended instructions, which govern what can appear on the Explore page, and not Community guidelines.
Messages that violate Facebook’s rules will continue to be deleted. Sensitive content management only gives users more options for how much they want to be exposed to content that may interfere with the Explore tab. For example, Facebook says fighting or content containing people in transparent clothing may be considered sensitive and should therefore not be displayed on the Explore page for people with sensitive content boundaries. However, graphic violence or nudity would be removed from the site and would not be visible even to those whose sensitive content management is set to allow.
Facebook did not respond to the request for comment on how much the setting differs from the amount of potentially sensitive content displayed to the user. However, the descriptions at the top of this article, which appear in the Facebook screenshot of the feature, are a bit vague – the Restrict Even option doesn’t say you don’t see sensitive content, but that you “might” see fewer posts that “could” be annoying.
According to Facebook, you can access this setting by going to your profile and then tapping Settings> Account> Sensitive Content Management. The feature doesn’t seem to have spread to all users yet: the option didn’t show up for me or a few of my colleagues. Facebook says the regulation to allow sensitive content may not be available to people under the age of 18.
This announcement comes at a time when many social networks, especially photo and video sharing platforms, try to figure out how to deal with content that may be annoying to some users but appealing to others. Last year, TikTok enable warning screens possibly for graphic videos, and Pinterest announced recently ban on weight loss declarations. Instagram itself tries to blur images that may trigger eating disorders in struggling people, and provides resources for users looking for content related to interference. Today’s announcement doesn’t seem to mean a dramatic change to the Explore page, but it should give people a little more control over what they see in it.