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Trolling Through Instagram

Posted on October 18, 2016, at 2:05 p.m.
by Nicole Morgan.

Calling all Instagrammers, a new filter has been released…and it is not for your photos.

With millions of users daily, Instagram has become a popular platform for people to share photos and videos. Among those users are celebrities who maintain their brand images and connect with their audiences. By sharing what they find important, users build a relationship with their followers by giving them an up-close and personal view of their lives.

Photo by Joe Bielawa
Photo by Joe Bielawa

However, not all fans feel the #Love. Anytime a follower is upset with a brand, they are not afraid to voice their opinion and start an argument in the comments section. These people, also known as “trolls,” purposefully post inflammatory remarks in order to upset others. Negative opinions like this led to Justin Bieber deleting his own account after receiving hateful comments for posting a photo with his new girlfriend.

In an effort to combat online harassment, Instagram tested out a new feature this summer for celebrities that allows them to filter offensive comments on their photos. With this feature, users can either block a default list of words that Instagram deems offensive, or go with a custom list of words. According to an article by The Times, one of the first users to try out the feature was Taylor Swift, when she had the snake emoji removed from the comments section of her photos during her online battle with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. This past September, Instagram rolled out the feature for all users.

In response to the new feature, Lena Dunham posted a photo along with a caption (NSFW) praising Instagram: “I’m so excited that they’ve given us this tool to keep unnecessary negativity out of our feeds and hearts. So, use it!”

By allowing its users to have more control over comments, Instagram has taken a step forward in proving that it cares about the community it has created and wants to make the photo-sharing community more inclusive.

Photo by Instagram / Ian Spalter, Joy-Vincent Niemantsverdriet, Eric Goud, Robert Padbury
Photo by Instagram / Ian Spalter, Joy-Vincent Niemantsverdriet, Eric Goud, Robert Padbury

In a blog post on Instagram’s website, CEO and co-founder Kevin Systrom wrote, “We know tools aren’t the only solution for this complex problem, but together, we can work towards keeping Instagram a safe place for self-expression. My commitment to you is that we will keep building features that safeguard the community and maintain what makes Instagram a positive and creative place for everyone.”

In a digital world filled with trolls, it is important for social media platforms to make sure their users have the right tools to filter out the negativity. Instagram’s latest move sets a precedent against online harassment and is the first of many in the right direction.


  1. Post comment

    I am an avid Instagram user and I had no idea that this was something celebrities could use to block out the “trolls.” On a daily basis I see trolls commenting extremely hurtful and unnecessary things on others social media accounts and I’ve always thought to myself “this is why I keep my account on private.” Of course, I am not a celebrity and I do not have a social media following that goes up to the millions of fans but even if I was I could never even imagine how hurt I would be if someone was commenting mean and spiteful things on my pictures. These are people that do not even know these celebrities personally, they just know what the media has made them out to be. I love that Instagram has added this new feature because it is so important that in today world, where everything is based around your social media footprint one should be able to post freely without being harassed. Kudos Instagram and everything you are doing for the social media community.


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