Instagram Takes One Step Towards Curbing Hate Speech

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The online world comes with an immense freedom of speech. The flipside of this freedom is undeniable. Trolls, that were earlier simply a part of children’s storybooks have now transfigured into people who sit behind their screens and misuse the freedom of the online world. So, how does one go about tackling the trolls and bullies of the online world? Is that necessary? How does one navigate the thin line that is freedom of speech on social media?

Online bullying/harassment includes everything from insulting comments on people’s photos to more serious murder/rape threats. Instagram, in its latest effort to create an inclusive community on Instagram has rolled out a feature that allows you to filter out comments that are intended to bully or harass. “We’re not here to curb free speech’ said CEO Kevin Systrom. Social media platforms have been known to be reluctant about adding restrictive features because the. However, a thriving platform like Instagram has taken an immensely courageous and positive step by attempting to filter out abusive comments.

The new feature is essentially an automatic filter that is present in the ‘Comment Settings’ and can be switched off should the user choose to do so. When the filter is on, hostile comments will immediately disappear as soon as the comment appears on the post. The person who has commented, however, will be able to see the comment. This is an attempt on Instagram’s end to prevent the trolls from understanding how the filter works and instead find a way to beat it.

Filtering out comments is a sure shot way of keeping trolls from harassing people on Instagram. Preventing them from making these comments in the first place is equally important. SocialSurfing’s mission is essentially this- actively spreading awareness against hate speech and social media etiquette. Our approach and methodology- emojication is what helps the youth that participate in our workshops to truly understand why social media etiquette is important. We strive to teach the youth ways of counter speech inorder to enable them to tackle hate speech. As the users of Social Media grow, the need to spread awareness only increases and our ways and means to educate the youth constantly evolve as well.

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