Instagram unveils tool to allow users to filter abusive comments

Instagram

Instagram has introduced a feature that allows users to block abusive or offensive comments on photos.

The new tool lets users add custom keywords and phrases to a list of terms that they consider offensive. Those comments that contain such terms are automatically hidden.

In an update released on their website, the CEO, Kevin Systrom, said:

We know tools aren’t the only solution for this complex problem, but together, we can work towards keeping Instagram a safe place for self-expression. My commitment to you is that we will keep building features that safeguard the community and maintain what makes Instagram a positive and creative place for everyone.

High-profile Instagram users were given early access to the tool this year.

Instagram’s new tool
Instagram’s new tool, allowing users to add keywords and phrases which will be blocked in comments. Photograph: Instagram

Taylor Swift was among the users who tested out the feature before its public introduction. Her account had been flooded with the snake emojis after a public fallout with Kim Kardashian West.

Like other social networks, Instagram has faced problems with harassment and abuse. Justin Bieber deleted his Instagram account after abusive comments about his new girlfriend.

Its anti-abuse tool has already been compared with efforts by other social networks to curb harassment. Some have criticised networks for only acting when high-profile figures are under attack.

Twitter in particular has come under scrutiny for its perceived lack of action. This year, the Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones was driven off the network after a sustained, targeted campaign of racist and sexist abuse. Recently, the company made a tool which filters notifications available to all users.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, has also faced criticism for its own moderation decisions. The editor of Norway’s largest newspaper printed a front-page editorial urging Mark Zuckerberg to live up to his role as “the world’s most powerful editor” after the company took down a Pulitzer prize-winning photograph from the Vietnam war. The picture, which shows nine-year-old Kim Phúc running away from a napalm attack, was later reinstated.

Facebook has also been criticised for leaving up content of a graphic nature. This month, the company declined to remove a video showing a dog being abused, saying it did not violate community standards.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Elena Cresci, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 13th September 2016 12.10 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010