Instagram is making it easier to delete comments and block people to crack down on harassment

Instagram is making it easier to delete comments and block people to crack down on harassment
Adam Mosseri, head of Facebook-owned Instagram.Reuters/Beck Diefenbach
  • Instagram is adding new features to combat online harassment.
  • The Facebook-owned app is making it easier to block multiple people at once, letting users pin comments on posts, and introducing tools to restrict who can tag users.
  • Instagram has been criticised in the past over its use as a platform for online bullying.
  • The new features were announced alongside the latest version of Facebook's Community Standards Enforcement report.

Instagram is making it easier to block people and delete comments in a bid to crack down on harassment. The app is also adding the ability to pin comments on posts.

On Tuesday, the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app announced a bunch of feature that are, it says, collectively intended to "mark the continuation of our effort to lead the industry in the fight against online bullying."

Instagram users will be be able to delete up to 25 unwanted comments on a post at once, instead of one-by-one. Similarly, users will be able to block multiple people at the same time. The app is adding a feature that will allow users to "pin" certain comments made on posts, which the company said in a blog post "gives people a way to set the tone for their account and engage with their community by pinning a select number of comments."

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And thirdly, Facebook is letting users set restrictions on who is able to tag and mention their account on Instagram. It can be set to everyone, only the people that the user follows, or no-one.

Instagram has largely escaped the scandals that have bedeviled its parent company Facebook over the past few years — but it has been criticized by some over its alleged impact on mental health and its role in online harassment. In 2018, an investigation by The Atlantic detailed numerous instances of harassment on Instagram, headlined bluntly: "Instagram Has A Massive Harassment Problem."


The company has since made efforts to work on the issue, rolling out new tools to control what comments can appear on users' posts, and using artificial intelligence to monitor for potentially bullying comments.

Tuesday's new features were announced alongside the publication of Facebook's twice-yearly Community Standards Enforcement report — a report on Facebook's content moderation work, and how it policies its social networks for harassment, hate speech, and other illegal or objectionable content.

Facebook also announced on Tuesday that it has created a new dataset of more than 10,000 "hateful memes," that it is sharing with researchers so they can develop technologies to help defend against hate speech online.

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