Ever since we found out that Instagram was testing out some new moderation tools, the foremost question on many of our minds has been the following: Can I moderate Instagram comments? I mean, yes, we've known for a while that some people can — as Bustle’s Claire Warner put it back in July, the test was originally rolled out to “accounts with a high volume of followers,” aka celebrities and other public figures. But when would the rest of us be able to filter abusive comments? And how will we be able to tell when it happens?
Good news: That time is now, and figuring it out was easy. Instagram CEO and co-founder Kevin Systrom announced the global rollout of Instagram comment moderation in a blog post on Monday, observing, “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, bust sometimes the comments on their posts can be unkind.” Systrom continued, “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. So, today, we’re taking the next step to ensure Instagram remains a positive place to express yourself.” Hear, hear.
And what’s even better is that as far as I can tell, everyone should have the update right now — none of this “slow, gradual rollout” stuff we’ve seen from a large number of social media app updates lately. As soon as I saw the announcement, I booted up the app to see if I had the update yet… and lo and behold, there it was! To access the moderation tool, first make sure you have the most recent version of Instagram installed (version 9.3 on iOS; the version varies according to Android device); then go to your profile and tap the gear icon. If you scroll down, you should now see a brand new option in the “Settings” section: “Comments”:
Once you’re there, you’ll have the option to toggle on the “Hide Inappropriate Comments” setting, as well as input custom keywords — things you absolutely know you don’t to see in your comments. Writes Systrom, “Comments with these words will be hidden from your posts.”
If you're able to do all that — and again, I'm pretty sure everyone can — then
Online abuse is rampant — but although, as Systrom notes, “tools aren’t the only solution for this complex problem,” it’s encouraging that platforms are finally taking steps towards mitigating the problem. For example, Twitter also rolled out its quality filter to all users recently, and I can tell you from personal experience, it is a godsend. Of course, I wish it hadn’t taken quite so long for these features to start becoming the norm, now that they’re here, it’s a sign that online abuse is getting taken seriously. Because it is a serious issue — and no matter how much we might disagree with each other, no one should have to deal with this sort of harassment simply for existing on the internet.
Images: Lucia Peters/Bustle (2)