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It’s hard to imagine an online world these days without people spewing racist comments at Leslie Jones or body-shaming Kim Kardashian post-pregnancy. But Instagram is aiming to achieve just that with the launch of its comment-filtering feature, previously only available to the Kendall Jenners of the world. And nobody is more thrilled than Lena Dunham.
“As a public person, I know I’m taking on a certain amount of hate, and I armor myself,” said Lena Dunham in a show of support on Instagram on Tuesday. “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 in an absolute threat to their mental health?”
On Monday, Instagram CEO and co-founder Kevin Systrom took to the social media platform to debut the rollout of the new comments filter, which has been in the hands of a number of users who garner a high volume of comments since its announcement earlier summer.
“The beauty of the Instagram community is the diversity of its members. All different types of people — from diverse backgrounds, races, genders, sexual orientations, abilities and more — call Instagram home, but sometimes the comments on their posts can be unkind,” explained Systrom, who called the announcement “the next step to ensure Instagram remains a positive place to express yourself.” Features in place already include the ability to delete comments or report users.
The new comments feature, located under the gear icon, allows users to customize or use a list of default words they deem inappropriate or offensive, which will be hidden from future posts. Dunham’s words? “‘Mon pubis,’ ’thong’ and ‘bag of cottage cheese,’” she claimed. Users also have the option to turn off comments entirely — an option model/actress Emily Ratajkowski appears to have been occasionally exercising since this summer.
The Instagram filter announcement comes not a moment too soon for the likes of Taylor Swift, who was a victim of harassment on Instagram earlier this summer when trolls began flooding her account with a snake emoji after her public fallout with ex Calvin Harris. Comments featuring the emoji were quickly deleted, prompting speculation that Instagram and its filtering feature were behind the censorship.
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