Instagram announced on Friday plans to allow users filter their comment streams. The update comes in an attempt to deal with online harassment. Instagram’s latest update will let users customize the comments section by banning certain words, phrases, and even emoji wrote by other users.

Picture’s and video’s comments feature might now be partially or entirely turned off in an attempt to stop social media harassment. Even though Instagram allows users to share beautiful moments throughout photos or short videos, some users have experienced uncomfortable situations. Considering some people’s comments tend to be hateful critics and events threats of rape.

The Facebook-owned, image-sharing network is improving social media experience with the ability to turn off comments for individual posts. Image Credit: Latest News
The Facebook-owned, image-sharing network is improving social media experience with the ability to turn off comments for individual posts. Image Credit: Latest News

“Our goal is to make Instagram a friendly, fun and, most importantly, safe place for self-expression,We have slowly begun to offer accounts with high volume comment threads the option to moderate their comment experience. As we learn, we look forward to improving the comment experience for our broader community,” said Instagram public policy chief, Nicky Jackson Colaco.

Up to now, it was quite difficult to avoid the dark side of Instagram: anyone could watch posts and left nasty comments, which had in most cases online harassment.

The feature will be rolled out slowly. It will be first available for those users with a high volume comment, and celebrities are commonly those who receive the biggest amount of comments on their posts, and then it could be customized by the rest of Instagram community.

Instagram’s anti-harassment feature

The comment restriction feature comes as a last measure due to Instagram’s general speech policies cannot control all words or phrases resulting offensive for users.

The update is a strategy to deal with the issue most social media face, online harassment. Online bullying gets to critical levels when networks get accused of compliance in harassment when they do not act towards the felony. Networks get also charged with censorship if they implement new policies to fight online harassment.

It results sometimes difficult for social networks when it comes to this issue. When deciding what is acceptable speech or not, networks might fall into legal problems because their policies could alienate certain groups of users and that causes restrictions on social network’s reach. Considering that Instagram has 500 million monthly active users, the system cannot take risks of diminishing its users’ flow for speech policies.

What is doing the network is to put speech control policies on users, to let them decide what results acceptable, offensive or threatening for them.  That way Instagram will properly deal with social media harassment without being the target of possible lawsuits for censorship.

However, the comment filtering feature should carefully managed by users. With the possibility of picking up what results pleasant for some people, it might lead to future controversy among users.

“The possibility of heavy filtering is something that all users should take into account if they turn to the social network to get a read on what people think about a certain topic,” said Jackson.

Source: New Zealand Herald