Why You (and Many Celebs) Are Going to Love Instagram's New Comment Filter Feature

Why You (and Many Celebs) Are Going to Love Instagram's New Comment Filter Feature
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So long, haters. Instagram's latest platform update includes the comment filter feature we've all been waiting for. You can now program your settings so that certain words, phrases, or even emojis (we're looking at you Taylor Swift), cannot show up on your page's comment section. Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom made the announcement today on Instagram, of course, saying, "when Mike [Krieger] and I first created Instagram, we wanted it to be a welcoming community where people could share their lives ... we want to work diligently to maintain what has kept Instagram positive and safe, especially in the comments on your photos and videos." 

The co-founders created the new feature as a way "to promote a culture where everyone feels safe to be themselves without criticism or harassment." Hear, hear! "When you tap the gear icon on your profile, you'll find a new Comments tool," he explained in the caption. "This feature lets you list words you consider offensive or inappropriate. Comments with these words will be hidden from your posts." 

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 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.

A photo posted by Kevin Systrom (@kevin) on

So what does this mean for the average person? Put simply, by programming your settings, you can eliminate the hate.

As a public figure who is no stranger to online trolls, Lena Dunham was especially excited about the newest feature. "I'm not here to bitch and moan, because that's what my therapist is for," she wrote in the caption of an Instagram of a neon sign reading "More Love." 

"I have often been disappointed by what feels like a lack of effort to protect people online from racist, misogynist, ableist, xenophobic & transphobic language," she continued. "That's why I'm so pleased Instagram is taking the lead to help protect their 500 million users from unwanted and abusive comments." Dunham goes on to explain how the feature works, listing "mons pubis," "thong," and "bag of cottage cheese" as her unwanted words, and thanking the Instagram founders for "giv[ing] us this tool to keep unnecessary negativity out of our feeds and hearts," and encouraged her followers to use it, too. 

Many of you know that I've dealt with my share of Internet trolls. I'm not here to bitch and moan, because that's what my therapist is for, but I have often been disappointed by what feels like a lack of effort to protect people online from racist, misogynist, ableist, xenophobic & transphobic language. I've even read clear threats! Social media communities should engender a dialogue, not become tools for verbal abuse. As a public person I know I'm taking on a certain amount of hate, and I armor myself (though that doesn't mean I don't go totally effing nuts when I see some of my heroes getting attacked online for things like their race or sexuality.) But I can't help but wonder how people without the same resources have learned to cope. What about teenagers who are still forming their identities, and for whom cyber-abuse is an absolute threat to their mental health? That's why I'm so pleased Instagram is taking the lead to help protect their 500 million users from unwanted and abusive comments. Now, when you tap the gear icon on your profile, you’ll find a new Comments tool. This lets you make a list of words you consider offensive or inappropriate (for me those are "mons pubis" "thong" and "bag of cottage cheese".) Any comments with these words will not appear on your posts. You can choose your own list of words or just use the default words Insta has kindly provided. I'm so excited that they've given us this tool to keep unnecessary negativity out of our feeds and hearts. So, use it! Plus, this is in addition to the tools they've already developed- so please keep on swiping to delete gross comments, reporting inappropriate creeps and blocking like your life depends on it. Because guess what? Someone's might. Love you! Lena (link to @kevin's post about these developments in bio. Image by the one & only Tracy Emin 💗)

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on

Chrissy Teigen was one of the first to test out the beta version of the feature back in July, tweeting her chosen banned words, including "Trump," "slut," and "cleanse."

 

 

Kylie Jenner, too, was one of the filter's testers, eliminating the comment section on her Instagrams altogether.

 

 

Internet trolls, it's time to start backing down and backing off. The face behind every Instagram page belongs to a real person, and it's time to start treating everyone as such. Thank you, Instagram, for helping to bring about the beginning of the end of Internet hate. 

 
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