By Victoria Jameson | @VictoriaJameson
Have you ever received rude or inappropriate comments on your Instagram photos? Or maybe you’re just tired of seeing negative commentary splattered all over posts from your favorite brand or celeb. Whether you’re the victim or the witness of unfavorable Instagram interactions, you’ll appreciate Instagram’s latest means of battling online bullying and harassment.
Starting this past week, all Instagram users have the option to hide phrases containing specific keywords. They can either customize the list or opt to use the generic choice of words flagged by Instagram.
This new feature is either an extremely practical tool for making Instagram a safe place for users, or it’s a really creative hoax to get Justin Bieber to reactivate his account. It really could go either way.
The beta version of this feature has been available for testing on the profiles of prominent Instagram users for a few months now. It’s rumored that Taylor Swift utilized this feature in the aftermath of the T. Swift/Kimye "famous" feud, where critics spammed Taylor’s Instagram comments containing only snake emojis. Within a week after the scandal, all of the snakes had slithered off and there was apparently a force field preventing new emojis from being posted. Clearly Instagram was involved. The social media world speculated that Taylor had been granted mystical powers from the Instagram gods that only she could possess... but now it just looks like she utilized a basic comment filter. Kind of anticlimactic, but still pretty exciting for the Instagram community.
Business account owners or Instagram accounts connected to Facebook pages, were able to filter comments starting early July, but now the feature has been opened to the public in the update released Monday the 12th.
Users understand the benefit of blocking hateful or degrading content from littering posts, but what could this mean for business on the app? Comment filtering could be a great resource for minimizing hate speech and bullying online, but it could also pose a threat to freedom of speech and customer opinions, especially on feedback regarding products or services featured in Instagram posts.
Many people will research a company by looking at interactions between the brand and its followers. If the brand is able to block all undesirable feedback, this will pose a huge threat to freedom of speech when it comes to criticism on products and service. But overall it seems that the potential good outcomes of this update far outweigh the bad.
What do you think of Instagram’s latest feature? Tweet us at @SocialMediaDel and share your thoughts with us.