The Failures of Instagram Privacy Settings

It takes four clicks to turn on privacy settings, which are not intuitive. Please move the privacy settings to the first page of the menu, potentially under “Your Activity” in order to promote awareness of this safety feature.

To improve its systems, Instagram should:

  • Make privacy settings more visible in order to increase awareness of safety tools;
  • When an account is private, remove the ability for strangers to send unsolicited direct messages to that account and remove the ability for that person’s account to be visible in the Likes or Comments on other posts—similarly to how Twitter hides the names of accounts when they are set to private;
  • Create an alert that appears in the direct messages area whenever a new person sends a user a direct message – which alerts the user to the fact that they can report accounts. Many teenagers and adults are unsure how to define sexual harassment, so we encourage Instagram to also include a link within that safety alert to the following definition of sexual harassment: Sexual harassment includes but is not limited to, unwanted sexual advances or attention including physical actions, speech that is sexually provocative, and unsolicited sending of or requests for pornography or nude images/videos. This kind of notification could mirror Instagram’s efforts on self-harm as outlined here: https://wellbeing.instagram.com/safety by also giving them the option to connect with services;
 

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