For all the good that social media does — connecting friends around the globe, raising awareness of important social issues, among much more — there remain persistent drawbacks associated with each platform that affect some users more than others. More often than not, high-profile users of Instagram and Twitter, will find themselves on the receiving end of spam and flat-out hate speech from Internet trolls at some point. You may recall when the comedian Leslie Jones, who recently starred in the reboot of Ghostbusters, briefly quit Twitter this summer after facing an onslaught of racist online abuse. Canadian darling Justin Bieber has also frequently quit social media due to hatred directed towards his new girlfriend, Sofia Richie.
So what is the role and responsibility of social media companies to protect their users, monitor, and delete hate speech? This question puts the onus on the companies to make the often blurry distinction between what constitutes as hate speech versus free speech, and in doing so, decide what they ultimately want their platforms to stand for. Social media companies have previously shied away from controlling much of what is said on their platforms, with the Twitter CEO at one point likening his role to that of a phone company, who do not — and cannot — control what people say to each other over the phone.
But starting this week, it looks like the tides could be beginning to turn with Instagram, who’s demonstrating that they are taking this responsibility more seriously than ever. Instagram users can apply opt-in content filters to the comments they receive on their photos.
What exactly will these content filters block? Hundreds of “deplorable words” across the many languages that Instagram’s millions of users speak. Instagram has evidently considered that there may be words and comments that its users find deplorable which the company hasn’t defined as such. So, its users are now able to customize their settings as well, and add further words and emojis they want to see blocked.
Any user who chooses to use these filters, which can be found in the new comments drop down option in your account, will see all previous offensive comments blocked as well.
What do you think of Instagram’s new comment filters? Sound off in our comments below!
Featured image source: Instagram
Story source: TechCrunch