Instagram is no place for bullies.
We’ve all had that moment: You’re totally feeling yourself and you snap a kickass selfie or posted something really nice on Instagram, then going through the comments and you’re happy to see that all of your close friends are saying something really nice about what you posted then… BOOM. There’s that one negative comment from a complete stranger that kind of puts a damper on your day.
During the annual F8 developer conference held by Facebook, it was announced that Facebook owned company Instagram will start filtering out bullying comments from posts. This includes anything that “intends to harass or upset people in our community,” the platform’s CEO Kevin Systrom said in a post. Doing this will ensure Instagram remains “an inclusive, supportive place for all voices,” he wrote.
The new bullying filter will hide any comments on “a person’s appearance or character, as well as threats to a person’s well-being or health,” according to Instagram. It’s enabled by default to automatically comb content, but can be turned off in the Comment Controls. Either way, the filter will still detect and flag bullying content for official review.
This is a more forceful attempt to rid Instagram of negative interactions than their earlier efforts to clean up the platform. Back in September 2016, they enabled users to create filters for blocking content featuring certain words — a potentially effective but laborious method that put the onus on the user. Last year, they introduced another to block offensive comments, but it was aimed to protect users from frequently-targeted groups
The comment filter tool, which was originally introduced last year, with a focus on toxic and divisive comments, but the update today broadens what gets hidden to include the aforementioned types of comments. Users will also be able to disable the filter if they’d like to see the unedited comments on their feeds as well, but it will be enabled by default.
For now, the new anti-bullying filter is only launching for English-language comments, but Instagram plans to offer it in other languages in the future, too.