Instagram has been building a series of anti-harassment tools and plans to roll some of them out to all users in the coming weeks. According to The Washington Post, Instagram will let each user create their own banned words list, which will stop unwanted comments from being posted on their photos. Users may also gain the ability to turn comments off on a photo-by-photo basis, so someone could potentially disable comments entirely if they wanted to.
While harassment on Instagram hasn’t been as much of a story as harassment on other social networks, like Twitter, the development of these tools is still a big deal. Online harassment is a serious issue that any network needs to deal with, period. And flexible tools like a custom banned word list can let individual users take matters into their own hands to clear up their comments section, should someone begin posting hateful or otherwise offensive or tasteless remarks.
Having to create a banned phrases list on your own, rather than being able to rely on Instagram’s own filters, isn’t the perfect solution, of course. It still means that any person who cares about preventing harassment on their photos — likely the very people who are already experiencing harassment on Instagram or elsewhere — are going to have to put some work into stopping it. But the fact that tools will be there at all, and the fact that banned phrases can be updated at will, is a big step forward.
“High-volume” Instagram accounts will receive the anti-harassment features first, according to the Post. The filtering feature is supposed to appear in “the coming weeks,” while Instagram is still determining whether to widely roll out the ability to disable comments.