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Amid YouTube Ad Backlash, Instagram Blurs Out Possibly Offensive Content

Variety logo Variety 3/23/2017 Janko Roettgers
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Just as YouTube is feeling the heat from advertisers, Instagram is looking to make its feed more family-friendly: The Facebook-owned photo sharing service announced Thursday that it is starting to blur out photos that it has found to be “sensitive.”

“While these posts don’t violate our guidelines, someone in the community has reported them and our review team has confirmed they are sensitive,” wrote Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom in a blog post. “This change means you are less likely to have surprising or unwanted experiences in the app.”

Users will be able to look at the blurred-out photos by tapping on them. Instragram didn’t explain in detail what “sensitive” content looks like; the service already bans nudity, but in the past changed its policy to allow for the publication of photos depicting breastfeeding.

Instagram also unveiled a new help site aimed at explaining safety and filtering tools Thursday, and extended the availability of two-factor authentication to all of its users.

YouTube has been under fire this week following reports that it was displaying ads from major brands next to videos promoting terrorism and hate speech. Major advertisers, including AT&T and Verizon, suspended their advertising on the Google-owned video site in the wake of the controversy, and YouTube said that it is reevaluating its hate speech guidelines.

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