Social-media platforms have increasingly given users the ability to opt out of seeing “sensitive” or “mature” content on their feeds, with Instagram being the latest to add this feature.
But whether you want your feeds populated by images of the scantily clad and videos of people in bar fights—should be up to you. The good news is, you have some control over how much of this kind of content gets shown to you.
What is sensitive content on social media?
The term “sensitive content” usually covers posts that discuss or depict self-harm, violence, and some regulated products (like tobacco), as well as sexually explicit material.
Note that content that violates a platform’s rules gets removed altogether and does not fall under sensitive-content options.
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There are all kinds of reasons you might want to enable sensitive-content controls, such as if your child uses your account or has their own account, or you simply find certain images upsetting.
On the other hand, this type of content might not upset you, and perhaps you prefer to be shown anything the platforms’ algorithms think you might like. In which case, you have the option to disable filtering.
Turn sensitive content on and off on social media
Various social-media sites let you control how much sensitive content it shows you as you scroll. We show you how to turn these controls on and off.
Instagram lets you choose how much sensitive content from accounts you don’t follow show up on your Explore feed.
With a feature called Sensitive Content Control, you can continue to see some sensitive content by staying on the default option, which is Limit. You can also choose to Limit Even More, for a higher degree of filtering. To pick the mode that suits you, follow these steps:
- On your profile, tap the menu icon at the top-right.
- Tap Settings.
- Tap Account > Sensitive content control.
- Tap Limit (Default) or Limit Even More.
This setting, however, does not apply to your Home feed, which shows you primarily content from accounts you’ve chosen to follow. If accounts you’re following post content that is sensitive, it will appear blurred out on your Home feed, allowing you to choose to see it by tapping See Photo or See Video.
YouTube has a Restricted Mode that allows you to screen out “potentially mature” content on its site. Restricted Mode is turned off by default, though you can choose to have a filtered version of the site by activating it on your browsers and devices separately.
When Restricted Mode is on, you are not shown video comments, as they might have inappropriate words in various languages that are harder for the platform to identify.
To use Restricted Mode on your computer browser:
- Click your YouTube picture profile.
- Scroll to the bottom and click Restricted Mode.
- Toggle Activate Restricted Mode on or off.
To use Restricted Mode in the YouTube app on mobile:
- Tap your picture profile.
- Tap Settings > General.
- Tap Restricted Mode on or off.
If you prefer to be the judge of what’s sensitive to you, click Yes, view profile for any blocked profiles and View for any blocked tweets.
You can also set your account to display sensitive media:
- On your account page, click More > Settings and privacy.
- Click Privacy and safety.
- Click Content you see.
- Check for Display media that may contain sensitive content.
Sensitive content is also hidden in your search results by default. To change that, click Search settings at the bottom of Content you see, then untick the box next to Hide Sensitive content.
On TikTok, sensitive content is blurred out on the For You feed, and you have the option to tap Skip the video or Watch it anyway to proceed. Currently, TikTok does not give the ability to opt out of this setting.
What are your preferences when it comes to sensitive-content controls? Let us know in the comments!
FAQ: About sensitive content settings
What is sensitive content on social media?
Every social media platform has its own ways of determining what constitutes sensitive content, and they are often not transparent about their methods. Sensitive content is text, images, or videos that viewers are likely to find upsetting or offensive, and categories of content that platforms deem sensitive include those relating to violence, sex, drugs, weapons, and more. Because everyone finds different things upsetting, social media sites usually let you specify what types of content you consider sensitive, if you choose to turn on sensitive content controls.
What is sensitive content control?
Sensitive content control is a range of settings on social media platforms that lets you adjust how certain types of content is displayed to you. This means you can opt to see more or less sensitive content—as well as specify what types of content you consider sensitive and prefer not to see.