Instagram is cracking down on negative comments

Stop being mean! The world is bad enough!

by Roisin Lanigan
13 May 2020, 10:17am

With all of us stuck inside, most of our interactions are inevitably taking place via technology and social media. And while that can be a good tool to keep us connected and supported, the increased ability to hide behind a screen can have negative consequences too. Trolling, hate speech and bullying have always been a problem on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, where users can hide behind avatars to spew bile at anyone they dislike. But thankfully, rather than let that kind of negativity and bullying flourish in lockdown, Instagram are finally cracking down on it with a series of new tools and controls.

As part of the platform’s anti-bullying drive, Instagram have announced a new tool to help users manage negative comments on their profiles and highlight positive ones instead. The new feature, found under “Manage Comments”, lets users block or restrict commenters’ accounts in bulk. Additionally, Instagram introduced a tool to allow users to control who can tag or mention their handle on the app, as this has been used as a tool for online bullying in the past. To get a better handle on privacy you can now choose between “everyone”, “only people you follow” and, if you’re really antisocial or strict about your Finsta following “no one”.

Instead the app is introducing a Twitter-esque feature which allows users to highlight their most positive comments or happiest moments instead, with the aim of rolling out a “Pinned Comments” tool soon as a test. This would allow people to pull the positive comments on their threads to the top of the post, where they’re more easily seen.

While the steps are undoubtedly going in the right direction, it should be noted that today’s changes are mostly beneficial to influencer accounts or those with a huge Instagram following, who are more susceptible to mass trolling. What this also means though, is that celebrities being called out for problematic behaviour (or dodgy FaceTune) can simply silence that criticism by curating their comment section and amplifying fans instead.

So basically, while this is aimed at stopping bullying, it’s going to make the stans stronger than ever too.