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New Instagram Filter Will Remove Negative Comments

September 25, 2016

Brand social media accounts are frequent targets of customer complaints and slurs, but Instagram is introducing a new feature that will let accounts filter their comment streams or turn them off entirely.

As Digiday reports, Instagram already allows accounts with high volumes of comments to use a basic profanity filter and block words or phrases commonly reported as offensive, but the new feature will let accounts identify and remove terms that affect them on an individual basis. The filter is being rolled out first to celebrity accounts and brands, and will be made available to personal accounts in the coming months.

But brands should be cautious with this new ability to censor their critics, said Gary Nix, senior social strategist with Chicago-based digital marketing agency iCrossing.

Marketers shouldn’t use Instagram’s new filter to silence opinions and “delete negative comments that are valid and appropriate,” he said, but to “protect people from offensive, harmful and personally damaging speech.”

Kevin Del Rosario, associate director of social media at Huge, a Brooklyn-based digital agency, advises brands not to block comments.

“Allowing fans to voice their opinions, whatever they may be, is what makes social media special,” he said. “If you’re a brand and you have recurring troll problems, you probably have bigger issues that are simply spilling over into social media, and a comment-moderation feature … isn’t going to save you.” — Greg Beaubien

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