Silence Instagram Trolls With Keyword Filters

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"We're taking the next step to ensure Instagram remains a positive place to express yourself," CEO Kevin Systrom wrote in a blog announcement.

The photo-sharing service boasts a diverse community. But on social media, as in life, not everyone gets along. "To empower each individual, we need to promote a culture where everyone feels safe to be themselves without criticism or harassment," Systrom said.

So, Instagram is rolling out to all users a keyword-moderation tool. Simply tap the gear icon in your profile and look for "Comments"—under the Settings header, between "Mobile Data Use" and the option to save original photos).

The feature lets anyone create a personalized list of words you consider offensive or inappropriate—whether it's racial slurs, obscenity, or just "Justin Bieber." Users can build their own list or help themselves to the default words provided. Moving forward, comments featuring those words and phrases will be hidden from your posts, saving you the hassle of swiping to delete, reporting inappropriate comments, and blocking accounts.

"We know tools aren't the only solution for this complex problem, but together we can work towards keeping Instagram a safe place for self-expression," Systrom said.

This week's adjustments, he added, are not only his "personal wish," but also "our responsibility as a company."

Over the summer, Instagram teased a new content-specific filtering feature that let users flip comments on and off on a per-post basis.

Rival Twitter has faced backlash over its inability to effectively crack down on trolls and hateful comments. Last month it introduced two new features aimed at giving users more control: a new "quality filter" option to your notification settings that, when enabled, prevents you from seeing "lower-quality content"; and another that will limit alerts to only people you follow.

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