Instagram adds new comment filtering tools to combat bullying

Karissa Bell
Senior Editor
Instagram users will be able to limit who can mention or tag their account.

Instagram is ramping up its anti-bullying measures with a series of updates meant to give users more control over how others interact with their account. Among the changes: new comment filtering tools and restrictions on tagging and mentions. The updates come alongside Facebook’s Community Standards Enforcement Report, which highlights the company’s work to combat hate speech, bullying and other rule-breaking behavior. 

For Instagram users who face harassment, the new comment controls could have the most immediate impact as the new feature, rolling out now, gives users the ability to address problematic comments en masse. With the new tool, users can select up to 25 comments and block or restrict the offending accounts all at once. 

Instagram now allows users to remove up to 25 comments at once.

The move will address a longstanding issue for many users who say that previous comment controls were too cumbersome to be effective as an anti-bullying tool. This was especially true for higher profile users, or anyone who has had their comments “swarmed” as a form of targeted harassment, since removing hundreds or thousands of comments one-by-one could take hours. 

Instagram is also testing a new feature that will make it easier for users to control which comments are most visible in their feeds. The new “pinned comments” feature lets users choose which comments they want to draw attention to. The update is notable in that it’s one of the few ways users have been able to control which comments appear first in Instagram’s algorithmically-sported comments section. 

Instagram is testing a new "pinned comments" feature.

Finally, the app will allow users to control who can tag or mention them in posts. With the new setting, any account will be able to choose who they want to be able to tag or mention them in a post or on Stories: everyone, no one, or only those they follow. 

Instagram has also been testing a feature that hides like accounts, a change Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has said is meant to “depressurize” the app, particularly for its younger users. The company hasn’t given an update on that experiment, or if it will roll out more widely.