- Keyword moderation tool enables the user to block offensive words
- Previously only available to business users but now open to all
- The tool is the latest in a series of anti-troll initiatives launched by the firm
Instagram has taken an important step in the fight against internet trolls.
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The Facebook-owned photo-sharing app has introduced a keyword moderation tool that will automatically stop people from posting offensive comments under the user’s snaps.
The clever feature enables users to customize the comments, effectively banning words that they consider offensive.
‘Now, when you tap the gear icon on your profile, you’ll find a new Comments tool,’ explains Instagram CEO & Co-founder Kevin Systrom in a blog post.
‘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 the default words we’ve provided.
Abusive comments are a big problem for many users of the photo app.
‘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,’ said Mr. Systrom.
‘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, but I believe it’s also our responsibility as a company’.
The company has previously taken steps to tackle online abuse, including a feature that enables users to swipe to delete comments, along with a tool for 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,’ says Mr. Systrom.
The keyword moderation tool was previously available to large brands and business users but is now offered to every user.
Instagram has recently updated its app to enable users to pinch and zoom to get a closer view of the platform’s images and videos.
Dubbed Zoom, the new feature lets users zoom in on both photos and videos in the feed, on profile pages, and on the Explore tab.
It was released initially on iOS. However, Instagram says, ‘Zoom will be available on Android in the coming weeks.’
Instagram also recently launched a Snapchat-like new feature called ‘Stories’ that lets users create 10-second video clips and share them with a select group of followers.
In June, the company announced that it had hit 500 million active monthly users on its app.
In July, Twitter permanently suspended several users’ accounts for abuse and harassment after Ghostbusters actor Leslie Jones drew renewed attention to the issue and announced she would quit the social media site.
Jones retweeted and shared several abusive tweets she received Monday before telling her 250,000 followers: ‘I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a sorrowful heart. All this cause I did a movie. You can hate the movie, but the shit I got today…wrong.’
Twitter has long come under criticism for not doing enough to police abusive behavior on the messaging service.
‘We know many people believe we have not done enough to curb this type of behavior on Twitter. We agree,’ Twitter said in the statement. ‘We are continuing to invest heavily in improving our tools and enforcement systems to better allow us to identify and take faster action on abuse as it’s happening and prevent repeat offenders.’