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With 800 million users, Instagram bolsters safety

by Justin Herrick | September 26, 2017

Instagram might be a lot bigger than you think. The service that started with photo-sharing and has since expanded to video and stories is now home to more than 800 million users worldwide. Of that massive number, about 500 million are using Instagram on a daily basis. In less than six months, Instagram’s added 100 million users. It’s an impressive feat, but there’s still plenty of work to be done to improve Instagram.

Online communities are complex places. While you can freely post whatever you’d like, other users are free to comment whatever they’d like. Instagram, too, is no stranger to odd behavior. Sometimes you’ll get spam comments on your post, an unwanted compliment, or an insult. So, with nearly 1 billion users, Instagram should be doing its best to make everyone comfortable.

The latest update to Instagram focuses heavily on improving the platform’s safety and kindness.

Public accounts on Instagram now have access to enhanced controls for individual posts. You can decide who can comment by selecting users or groups. The update also enables the blocking of comments from specific users. If there’s someone who constantly leaves unwanted comments, you can put them on a list to prevent them from continuing to do so. They’ll still be able to view your posts but can’t comment.

The offensive comments filter, which debuted in June with English, is adding four languages to its arsenal. Instagram will detect offensive comments in Arabic, French, German, and Portuguese.

Another area of concern for the platform has been in live video. The live-streaming wing of Instagram, known as Instagram Live, has been subject to controversy as users have expressed signs of depression and other mental health struggles as people watched. Starting today you can report a live-stream anonymously and Instagram will step in to offer help. A 24/7 team at Instagram is ready to recommend a user talks with a trained expert, reads up on tips and supports, or reaches out to a trusted friend.

To celebrate the milestone, Instagram is hosting a new campaign called #KindComments. Walls in cities around the world will be converted into “colorful murals” that users can take pictures and videos in front of to encourage kindness.

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Justin Herrick

Justin is easily attracted to power buttons. His interest in technology started as a child in the 1990s with the original PlayStation, and two...