Instagram CEO is ‘rethinking the whole experience’ of the app to prevent bullying by making ‘likes’ private and screening comments BEFORE they post them
- The head of Instagram says well-being is the company’s ‘number one priority’
- Adam Mosseri, said they are testing screening comments before they’re posted
- Mosseri’s statements came an interview with CBS’ Gayle King, his first TV interview since taking the role last year
The CEO of Instagram has opened up about moves the company is making to curb bullying – such as hiding likes and screening offensive comments before they are posted.
In his first TV interview since taking the post nine months ago, Adam Mosseri told CBS’ Gayle King that the company is focused on well-being, and he is ‘100 percent’ willing to take measures that would affect the company’s bottom line to make the app a safer space.
That includes making likes private ‘so you don’t have to do all this social comparison’, and alerting users if a comment they are about to post appears offensive or harmful.
These steps are all part of an action plan from the new Well-being Team that Mosseri set up at Instagram in the wake of a scathing report last year by the British Royal Society for Public Health, which ranked Instagram the worst app for mental health.
‘Well-being,’ Mosseri told King, ‘is our number one priority.’
The measure to make likes private was first floated in April.
It is currently being tested by a select group of people as Mosseri weighs rolling out the feature universally.
‘We don’t want Instagram to be such a competition,’ Mosseri told King. ‘We want it be a place where people spend more of their energy connecting with the people that they love and the things that they care about.’
In the current version being tested, users can see likes on their own post, but nobody else can, ‘so you don’t have to do all this social comparison.’
Mosseri also shed light on a new idea: screening comments as users type them, in a bid to curb offensive comments before they are posted.
‘We don’t block you,’ Mosseri said. ‘We just say, “Hey, this looks like it might be unkind, do you want to undo it?”‘
Though tests are still ongoing, he said: ‘We’ve seen the people – not everyone, a minority but a meaningful minority – are changing in what they say and saying nicer things.’
Mosseri has a lot to prove.
The 36-year-old, who spent 10 years as an exec at Facebook, which owns Instagram, was brought in as the new head in September after founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger were pushed out.
He insists he felt conflicted about how to handle the departures of Systrom and Krieger, and he is doing his utmost to carry on Systrom’s battle to make Instagram a nice place to be.
Speaking to King, he made a point to humanize his team.
‘We’re people too. We go home, we read the newspaper, we read our news online, we get the criticism,’ he said.
‘And so the team that works on likes and comments was thinking, “Okay, how do I take some of those values, this focus on wellbeing, this focus on the nuance of people’s experiences and apply that to my day job?” And so they just came up with this… and we were excited.’
Mosseri said that the company has yet to take down a deepfaked video containing the CBS logo as Instagram formulates a uniform policy.
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