Instagram today is rolling out a feature to all its users that will allow everyone to decide for themselves how they want to moderate comments on the photo-sharing service. First launched for business accounts in July, the social network is now making its default and custom comment keyword blacklists available to all users.
This new feature will allow people to either enable a filter that will automatically block a default list of words to hide from their Instagram comments, or, with the custom keyword list, they can go further and choose certain words that they don’t want to see in the comments on their posts.
This latter option could also help Instagram account owners keep certain topics off-limits, even if the words themselves weren’t considered “abusive.” Both options can now be enabled by any user in their Instagram profile settings.
It had previously introduced other comment moderation tools, like swiping to delete comments, the ability to report inappropriate comments, and the ability to block user accounts. Features like these are important because Instagram is public by default, and also typically used for personal photo sharing, that’s a ripe target for bullies and trolls.
“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,” writes Kevin Systrom, Instagram co-founder and CEO, on the company’s blog, explaining the need for comment moderation tools.
“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,” he adds.
While anti-harassment tools are critical for maintaining a safe community where all people feel welcome, they’re not the only thing Instagram is working on to improve the commenting experience.
The company is also rolling out another change that will show more personalized, relevant comments in the comments preview you see on posts in the feed or on a profile, instead of the two most recent comments. Similar to Facebook, this means you’ll start seeing your friends’ comments before others, when browsing.
This feature will also be available today, along with the keyword blacklist tools.