Instagram Lets Users Filter Out Offensive Comments

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Looking to curb harassment and abuse, Instagram is now offering its users a way to filter out offensive comments.

Kevin Systrom, the social network’s co-founder and CEO, explained the change in a letter to users on Monday.

“Over the past five years, I’ve watched in wonder as this community has grown to 500 million, with stories from every corner of the world. With this growth, we want to work diligently to maintain what has kept Instagram positive and safe, especially in the comments on your photos and videos,” Systrom said.

A Note from Kevin Systrom (@kevin): When Mike and I first created Instagram, we wanted it to be a welcoming community where people could share their lives. Images have the ability to inspire and bring out the best in us, whether they are funny, sad or beautiful. Over the past five years, I’ve watched in wonder as this community has grown to 500 million, with stories from every corner of the world. With this growth, we want to work diligently to maintain what has kept Instagram positive and safe, especially in the comments on your photos and videos. The beauty of the Instagram community is the diversity of its members. All different types of people — from diverse backgrounds, races, genders, sexual orientations, abilities and more — call Instagram home, but sometimes the comments on their posts can be unkind. To empower each individual, we need to promote a culture where everyone feels safe to be themselves without criticism or harassment. It’s not only my personal wish to do this, I believe it’s also our responsibility as a company. So, today, we’re taking the next step to ensure Instagram remains a positive place to express yourself. The first feature we’re introducing is a keyword moderation tool that anyone can use. Now, when you tap the gear icon on your profile, you’ll find a new Comments tool. This feature lets you list words you consider offensive or inappropriate. Comments with these words will be hidden from your posts. You can choose your own list of words or use default words we’ve provided. This is in addition to the tools we’ve already developed such as swiping to delete comments, reporting inappropriate comments and blocking accounts. We know tools aren’t the only solution for this complex problem, but together we can work toward 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. To learn more about comments on Instagram, check out help.instagram.com. Kevin Systrom CEO & Co-founder, Instagram

A photo posted by Instagram (@instagram) on

“To empower each individual, we need to promote a culture where everyone feels safe to be themselves without criticism or harassment. It’s not only my personal wish to do this, I believe it’s also our responsibility as a company,” the CEO went on to say.

The filter allows users to hide comments with offensive words. Users have the option to either use a list of words provided by Instagram or to create their own list of words to filter out.

Twitter is also reportedly working on a tool that would let users filter out tweets that could be harassing or offensive.

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