Haters gonna hate. But you don’t have to see it anymore, at least not on Instagram.
Facebook’s photo sharing app announced a new product Thursday that — SURPRISE — isn’t just a copycat of a Snapchat feature. Rather, it’s a pair of new filters that will automatically block “certain offensive comments” and spam in nine languages, according to a blog post.
For Instagram, it’s a way to try to make the product safer and friendlier, and therefore, encourage people to spend more time with the app, whether that’s sharing, viewing, or commenting. That focus includes average users and celebrities.
Indeed, celebs have been vocal about Instagram needing more controls. Singer Miley Cyrus actually visited Instagram headquarters and told the team she would abandon the service unless they allowed a disable comment feature, as revealed by a recent iHeartRadio podcast.
Instagram users can access the feature in the Setting menu on their profile. Tap comments and press the tab for “Hide Offensive Comments.”
That filter will then block certain comments on posts and in live videos. The person who types the mean comment will still see it on their devices, but other users, who choose to turn on the filter, will not. So the mean comments won’t actually be prevented from being posted, just hidden for a certain proportion of users.
The filter for offensive comments is currently only available in English. Instagram said it plans to expand to more languages soon.
The spam filter, which is separate from the mean comments tool and being applied automatically, is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, French, German, Russian, Japanese and Chinese.
Instagram is still training these filters with machine learning and said the product will only get better in time. According to Wired, Instagram originally hired contractors to sort through comments and mark them as spam or not spam and then built its algorithms.
It’s not perfect, CEO Kevin Systrom admitted and Wired demonstrated in their article, running sentences by the algorithm with some weird results.
“We’re not here to curb free speech,” Systrom told Wired. “We’re not here to curb fun conversations between friends. But we are here to make sure we’re attacking the problem of bad comments on Instagram.”