Lena Dunham Spreads The Word About Instagram's New Bully-Blocking Tool

If there's one thing we can count on, it's that Lena Dunham will never be afraid to share her thoughts. In a post on Tuesday morning, Dunham spread the word about a new feature Instagram is offering in its comments tool that lets you provide a list of keywords you find offensive, or choose a default list, and then block comments that contain those words.

"Many of you know that I've dealt with my share of Internet trolls," Dunham wrote. "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."

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

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This is, of course, almost two weeks after the backlash over her comments on Lenny about Odell Beckham Jr. ignoring her at the Met Gala, which she assumed was because she didn't look like a model, a generalization many view as a racist stereotype. It's also a week after she was slammed on Twitter for making racist statements in the past.

"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)," Dunham continued. "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."
Here, Dunham reverted to her self-deprecating humor (the very thing that's gotten her in hot water in the past), telling readers that her keywords are "mons pubis," "thong," and "bag of cottage cheese."

Amy Schumer, the subject of the Lenny Letter interview in which Dunham made those controversial comments, almost immediately reposted this celebration of Instagram's policy. "Thanks for the heads up leenz!" Schumer wrote from her hospital in Paris, where she's recovering from food poisoning. "We can all deal with more love in this life!"

Instagram CEO and co-founder Kevin Systrom announced the new feature on Monday.

"The beauty of the Instagram community is the diversity of its members," he wrote in a blog post. "To empower each individual, we need to promote a culture where everyone feels safe to be themselves without criticism or harassment. It’s not only my personal wish to do this, I believe it’s also our responsibility as a company. So, today, we’re taking the next step to ensure Instagram remains a positive place to express yourself."
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