Is Instagram Censoring Comments About T.Swift?

Photo: Steve Granitz/Getty Images.
The internet is losing its mind over Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift today, understandably. And we have so many questions still, like: Is this the end of T.Swift? When did Swift write the note? Was this whole thing planned?! And now, Instagram itself is getting wrapped up in the drama. Since Kim Kardashian released the videos Sunday night, fans have been quick to defend Kanye and flood Swift’s Instagram with comments accusing her of being a liar and playing the victim. Mostly, however, the comments take cues from a tweet by Kardashian that featured the snake emoji. But according to StyleCaster, Instagram users have reported that the app has been removing comments containing the rat and snake emoji — and Instagrammers are not happy about it. According to Instagram’s Community Guidelines, the app has the right to remove “content that contains credible threats or hate speech, content that targets private individuals to degrade or shame them, personal information meant to blackmail or harass someone, and repeated unwanted messages.” Certainly many of these comments fall under the degrade, shame, or harassment categories. Fair enough. But it is impressive how quickly Instagram jumped to Swift’s aid, especially when so many women deal with more vitriolic harassment on a daily basis that goes largely unmoderated. When asked whether Instagram was taking special action on Swift’s account, a spokesperson told StyleCaster, “We’re always looking for better ways to help people prevent spammy or inappropriate comments on Instagram.” Like, back when Instagram banned the eggplant emoji, it was likely easier for moderators to find and delete offending comments based on their emoji inclusion — and perhaps they were able to just hit a big behind-the-scenes kill switch on them. If only it were that easy for all hateful online comments.

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