What’s the hardest place to police? The internet, of course.
Online communities have grown larger and more ubiquitous, but not necessarily friendlier. While finding the happy medium between First Amendment freedoms and safety in the digital world can be difficult, Instagram is taking action to make its own online platform a more “welcoming community.”
On Monday, Instagram’s CEO and co-founder Kevin Systrom authored a blog post introducing a keyword moderation tool that will help you filter out “words you consider offensive or inappropriate.” It will hide comments containing these words, making your personalized feed a more comfortable place.
“When Mike [Krieger] and I first created Instagram, we wanted it to be a welcoming community where people could share their lives,” Systrom wrote. “We want to work diligently to maintain what has kept Instagram positive and safe, especially in the comments on your photos and videos.”
The feature has been available to some users (notably businesses and celebrities) for a couple months, as model Chrissy Teigen noted in a tweet revealing words she was going to block from her own comments section.
Now the feature is widely available for public use.
“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,” Systrom wrote. “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.”
Instagram is by no means the only social media company looking to crack down on bullying and cruelty online. Twitter recently unveiled a quality filter to mitigate harassment and trolling. In addition, a number of third-party solutions also exist to make your social media experience more pleasant with various blocking and muting capabilities.
“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.” Systrom wrote. “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.”