Popular photo-sharing platform Instagram will soon introduce a new kind of filter – one that allows users to filter out offensive words or phrases they see in their comment streams or turn them off altogether – in an effort to curb online harassment. According to the Washington Post, the new anti-harassment feature will be first be rolled out to high-profile accounts with "high volume content threads" before being introduced to general accounts in the future.
"Our goal is to make Instagram a friendly, fun and, most importantly, safe place for self-expression," Nicky Jackson Colaco, Instagram's head of public policy, said in a statement to the Washington Post. "We have slowly begun to offer accounts with high volume content threads the option to moderate their comment experience. As we learn, we look forward to improving the comment experience for our broader community."
Users will also be able to opt out of having comments on their accounts on a post-by-post basis as well.
However, the company declined to comment on whether the feature was used in the recent Taylor Swift "Snakegate" fiasco where hundreds of snake emojis were mysteriously removed from her account in the wake of her Famous feud with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.
The newly announced feature comes a few weeks after Instagram released a comment moderation feature for business pages on its platform, which also lets users block comments with specific offensive phrases or words.
Social media networks have come under fire recently with many accusing the companies of not doing enough to prevent and tackle online harassment, abuse and incessant trolls on their platforms.
Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones recently left Twitter after facing vicious sexist and racist vitriol on the platform. She also called out the company for not doing enough to tackle online harassment.
"I just am saddened today," Jones said in a tweet. "Twitter, I understand you got free speech. I get it. But there has to be some guidelines when you let [hate] spread like that."
Twitter responded by permanently banning notorious troll, Milo Yiannopoulos. The network accused the tech editor of the extreme right-wing American news website Breitbart News of inciting his followers to target the actress with demeaning tweets.