Instagram has today announced two new features that are being added to the service, the ability to block offensive comments, and the ability to block spam. Instagram notes that both of these features are designed to help improve the Instagram experience overall, by making the social media channel a "safe place for self-expression." Both the features rely on machine learning to perform, and although they are being introduced today, they are expected to become even more powerful over time, and as they become more accustomed to identifying offensive comments and spam.
In terms of offensive comments, Instagram explains that the introduction of this feature is due to this being one of the main aspects that deters its users from enjoying the service. As such, Instagram will now look to avoid having to rely on users to report offensive comments and instead, the newly added filter will look to self-identify offensive comments and have them removed automatically. This is confirmed as an optional feature, and so the user will have the option to enable or disable the filter by heading to the "comments" section of the settings. Instagram notes that it is currently only available in English (other language support is in the works), and users will still be able to report offensive comments if they do manage to get through the filter. The spam filter works much in the same way. As Instagram explains that the filter will again look to self-identify any comments that are considered to be spam and remove them accordingly. Although the difference with the spam filter is that it has a much wider degree of luggage support at launch. With Instagram noting that in addition English support, the filter will also identify spam in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
The announcement does not specifically detail whether the Android app is seeing an update arrive with these features included, although the app listing on the Google Play Store does list a June 28 update date. So it is possible that the latest version of the app does already include the two new filters. Likewise, the features are expected to be live in due course on other Instagram-enabled platforms.