Just as Twitter allows their “Verified” users to introduce some rudimentary filtering systems for the notifications column, so too has Instagram put together a similar idea. Luckily, you don’t need to have a Verified Badge on Instagram in order to use it, but you do need to be identified as a “Business Page.”
Here’s how it works: if you turn on the “Comment Moderation” setting in your business profile, it’ll start filtering out comments based on what it thinks you don’t want to see. An Instagram rep told TechCrunch that the new tool “blocks comments with words or phrases often reported as offensive from appearing on your posts.” That includes slurs and spam or anything that looks like a scam.
As described, this tool won’t allow for as much nuance as a more complicated comment approval system. The moderation tool could work well for mid-level businesses that can’t afford to pay someone to moderate comments, and it might make some social media managers’ lives easier. It also could improve the lives of mega-popular Instagram stars who want to cut down on the insulting comments and spam that appear in their feeds, but even those users will probably have to do some manual pruning in order to really fix the problem. Plus, it sounds like there’s no built-in method to un-delete any false positives.
Even though this tool probably won’t be perfect, the fact that it’s being introduced at all seems like a good sign. I still wish Twitter would roll out some of these tools to non-verified users, perhaps based on follower count or just to everyone. YouTube comments remain notoriously bad as well. Perhaps some other services will follow suit if Instagram sees success in implementing this idea.
That said, automated filtering systems come with their own set of biases and problems. Ideally, this would be just one tool in an arsenal of options for cutting down on garbage comments, but at least it’s something.
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