In response to growing commentary from its users, Instagram has rolled out the ability for users to filter comments made on their posts.
In the official announcement posted on Monday, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom wrote:
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.
Instagram users can now enable keyword filtering on comments made on their own content, and can also set what keywords to filter. Any comments that contain filtered keywords will not be shown.
It will not apply to comments made on another account, only the ones the account user owns. So while Instagram users won’t be able to completely shield their experience everywhere on the app, at least their own account will be protected.
Originally this feature was rolled out to select celebrity and business pages as a beta test, mainly in response to the overwhelming number of comments these types of profiles tend to receive – many of them off-color, to say the least. Given the success of the feature, Instagram decided to make this feature globally available.
With Instagram’s user base continuing to grow (it has 500 million users) and its ongoing popularity with the younger set, it’s been feeling the pressure to keep its user experience as clean as possible.
Meanwhile, other social apps – like Twitter – are struggling with a lot of the same issues facing Instagram: serving a large, passionate user base while trying to find the right balance between moderating offensive content and still providing a relatively unrestricted experience.
Many social apps no doubt will be watching and taking notes on how this new Instagram feature is received by its users.