To dissuade users from engaging in cyberbullying, Instagram is adding new features that will give users more control over the comments section of each individual photo they post on the image-sharing service.
Keeping Instagram Safe
Instagram, like many social media platforms, isn't immune to ill-intentioned trolling, hate messages, occasional spam comments or worse: full-scale cyber bullying.
"Since the beginning of Instagram, we have focused on making it a welcoming place for everyone," wrote Kevin Systrom, Instagram's chief executive, in a blog post announcing the updates.
Previously, users were limited to deleting comments only after they were made, but Instagram recently appended this and implemented a comment filtration system that automatically sandblasted comments containing certain keywords that users preferred not to see on their comments section.
Since majority of in-app conversations occur on the comments section of each Instagram post, it's only logical for Instagram to fine-tune its control options further.
Instagram will soon introduce a feature that turns off comments altogether, slated to roll out "in a few weeks."
Turning Off Comments
Once the option becomes available, users can select "Advance Settings" before each Instagram post and opt to "Turn Off Commenting." Should users want to undo this, they can always go to the menu after publishing a post and turn the comments back on.
Alongside expanded comment options, Instagram will also introduce the option to like comments on a post. Next to any comment will reside a heart icon which users can tap to start liking. According to Instagram, liking comments "lets [users] show support and encourages positivity throughout the community."
Other Cyberbullying Countermeasures
For those whose Instagram accounts are private, approved followers may now be removed by tapping the menu next to the user's name. In the past, there was no way to remove a follower upon approval, and the only recourse available was to block that particular user.
Instagram in October added an anonymous reporting system for posts implying self-injury or suicidal intent, and Systrom has reiterated this feature alongside the comment control options in the blog post, suggesting the company is determined to keep Instagram a safe place for users.
Systrom said that there will be teams working 24/7 to monitor reports of posts pertaining or hinting to self-injury.
Instagram's continuous commitment to halting the recurrence of cyberbullying lapses Twitter's comparatively abysmal efforts in taking similar action. Despite being already ahead of Twitter in terms of negative online behavior countermeasures, Systrom noted that the updates only marked jumping-off points for the time being as Instagram procures more tools that will render the Instagram a safer place in the long run.
"We will continue to work to maintain Instagram as a welcoming and safe place for everyone," wrote Systrom.