Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Instagram allows its users to banish the trolls with new settings

Posted By on Tue, Sep 13, 2016 at 12:00 PM

click to enlarge SHUTTERSTOCK
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It seems that the social media app Instagram has taken a note from Beyoncé by allowing its users to give the middle finger to all of the trolls and haters.

This new setting weeds out all the nasty comments from creepy dudes who have nothing better to do with their time than harass others over social media.

With recent cyber-bullying attacks on SNL comedian/ Team USA's biggest Olympic fan Leslie Jones, it comes as a fresh of breath air that the app is taking responsibility for cyber-bullying and putting an end to it. 

"What about teenagers who are still forming their identities, and for whom cyber-bullying is an absolute threat to their mental health?" writes actress and writer Lena Dunham on an Instagram post today. "That's why I'm so pleased Instagram is taking the lead to help protect their 500 million users from unwanted and abusive comments." 

Many of you know that I've dealt with my share of Internet trolls. I'm not here to bitch and moan, because that's what my therapist is for, but I have often been disappointed by what feels like a lack of effort to protect people online from racist, misogynist, ableist, xenophobic & transphobic language. I've even read clear threats! Social media communities should engender a dialogue, not become tools for verbal abuse. As a public person I know I'm taking on a certain amount of hate, and I armor myself (though that doesn't mean I don't go totally effing nuts when I see some of my heroes getting attacked online for things like their race or sexuality.) But I can't help but wonder how people without the same resources have learned to cope. What about teenagers who are still forming their identities, and for whom cyber-abuse is an absolute threat to their mental health? That's why I'm so pleased Instagram is taking the lead to help protect their 500 million users from unwanted and abusive comments. Now, when you tap the gear icon on your profile, you’ll find a new Comments tool. This lets you make a list of words you consider offensive or inappropriate (for me those are "mons pubis" "thong" and "bag of cottage cheese".) Any comments with these words will not appear on your posts. You can choose your own list of words or just use the default words Insta has kindly provided. I'm so excited that they've given us this tool to keep unnecessary negativity out of our feeds and hearts. So, use it! Plus, this is in addition to the tools they've already developed- so please keep on swiping to delete gross comments, reporting inappropriate creeps and blocking like your life depends on it. Because guess what? Someone's might. Love you! Lena (link to @kevin's post about these developments in bio. Image by the one & only Tracy Emin 💗)

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on

As Dunham explains above, any user can go to their settings, find the new "Comments" tool, and then plug in words or phrases that you find offensive and don't want to show up on your comment section. Instagram will filter out comments with those words so you won't see the wrath of douchebags and trolls. 

Granted, this doesn't actually stop trolls from being their trolly-selves, but at least you won't physically see the cyber-bullying comments that are unnecessary and uncalled for. 

Hopefully Facebook and Twitter will take note and make adjustments their comment sections as well. 

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