Instagram is building a product equity team and hiring a director of diversity and inclusion

Instagram announced some changes it’s making that are geared toward advancing equity within its workplace. The changes come after Instagram in June spoke about elevating, rather than suppressing, Black voices in light of the killing of George Floyd.

“More than ever, people are turning to the platform to raise awareness for the racial, civic, and social causes they care about,” Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, wrote in a blog post. “It’s a big part of why we committed in June to review the ways Instagram could be underserving certain groups of people. We have a responsibility to look at what we build and how we build, so that people’s experiences with our product better mirrors the actions and aspirations of our community.”

For starters, the Facebook-owned company has created an Equity team to work on “better understanding and addressing bias in our product development” the experiences people have on Instagram, Mosseri wrote. Part of the responsibilities of that team include creating fair and equitable products, as well as ensuring algorithmic fairness. According to a job posting for an equity and inclusion product manager, the team will be fully focused on equity and inclusion, and “creating the most equitable experience for our global communities.”

Instagram is also looking to hire its own diversity lead. According to the job posting, the director of diversity and inclusion will be responsible for increasing and retaining people from diverse backgrounds, among other things. Facebook has had a head of diversity in place since 2013, but given how big of a company Facebook has become, it seems worthwhile to have a diversity leader specifically focused on Instagram.

Instagram says it has also updated its policies around implicit hate speech, such as depictions of blackface or stereotypes about Jewish people. Instagram says it will also now disable accounts that make serious rape threats, instead of just removing the content.

On the verification front, Instagram has also expanded its criteria to include more Black, LGBTQ+ and Latinx media. Instagram has also stopped automatically prioritizing verification for accounts with high followings.