Instagram Just Struck A Huge Blow Against Online Hate Speech

Instagram, for better or worse, has always been about presenting images in a tightly-controlled environment. Sometimes people don't like it, such as those behind #FreeTheNipple, but this latest censorship measure can only be construed as a force for good.

Instagram that it will now allow users to hide comments containing certain keywords from their posts. The image-sharing giant has allowed users to eliminate the comments entirely in the past, but this feels like a good middle ground. The measure is an obvious response to the recent upsurge in deplorable hate speech incidents involving celebrities. Instagram may have gotten the inspiration for this feature when it protected Taylor Swift's account, or that may have been a test of the feature itself.

"To empower each individual, we need to promote a culture where everyone feels safe to be themselves without criticism or harassment," Instagram CEO and co-founder Kevin Systrom said in a blog post. "It’s not only my personal wish to do this, I believe it’s also our responsibility as a company."

We think that this type of change can be nothing but good. Hate speech doesn't have a place in any arena, let alone something as personal as social media. And social media is personal. Just because the KKK has the constitutional right to express their deplorable ideas doesn't mean that we're obligated to hear them. Harassment is a major issue for people online, especially those that don't fall under the white-male-heterosexual-cisgender umbrella. The idea that someone would attack a person for how they look, think, or express themselves is horrid. The idea that you get a push notification of their hate speech is worse still.

Here's how the feature works, according to the blog post:

"The first feature we’re introducing is a keyword moderation tool that anyone can use. Now, when you tap the gear icon on your profile, you’ll find a new Comments tool. This feature lets you list words you consider offensive or inappropriate. Comments with these words will be hidden from your posts. You can choose your own list of words or use default words we’ve provided. This is in addition to the tools we’ve already developed such as swiping to delete comments, reporting inappropriate comments and blocking accounts."

We applaud Instagram for making this change. Now Twitter has to get on board.
Advertisement

More from Tech

Remember when dorm drama just meant your roommate eating the last of your Oreos without asking, or talking on the phone too loudly while you were trying ...
Chrissy Teigen, the model turned TV host turned cookbook author, has amassed Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat followings in the millions. The secret to ...
A Google search for "mooning" pulls up expected results: some news articles about protestors pulling down their pants, and the formal dictionary definition...
GENERATION STARTUP presents Women In Tech, an episode of an exclusive web series with footage left on the cutting room floor. The feature documentary ...
Pokémon Go was this year's biggest app sensation. Within 24 hours of its launch, the game became a mega hit and has since seen users walking billions of ...
For the second time this month, earthlings of the Western Hemisphere will experience a special event involving our moon. Earlier this month, we got our ...
If you want to look up information about your favorite celebrities, your first instinct is probably to google them. But depending on who you're curious ...
(Paid Content) Refinery29 is now on Versy, a messaging and content-sharing app made for busy people like us
Complaining today is much easier than it used to be. Lost luggage, bad service, extra charges, broken products — you used to have to put a letter in the ...
It's Google's 18th birthday which means it can finally see all the porn it serves up
Tonight marks the first of three presidential debates between candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Because of the debate's close proximity to New...
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) developed a phone app that will assist you in recording and reporting police conduct. The app, Mobile Justice, ...
If you aren't registered to vote, don't panic. As a matter of fact, thanks to Snapchat, you can now do it in just one minute, reports Time. The social-...
You may start to notice your Uber drivers snapping a lot of selfies, but it doesn't necessarily mean that you're riding with an Instagram addict. Your ...