Instagram users can now report self-harm posts and switch off trolls

Photo: Isaac Brekke/ Getty Images.

Instagram had promised to avoid the path of its older rivals Twitter and Facebook and be more proactive in dealing with abusive posts. The company followed through with new features revealed this morning.

Instagram co-founder and chief executive Kevin Systrom announced on the company blog that users can now switch off comments for any post, remove followers on private accounts and report posts that indicate self-harm.

“While comments are largely positive, they’re not always kind or welcome,” Systrom said. “Sometimes there may be moments when you want to let your post stand on its own.”

The ability to switch off comments was available to a small number of users, but has now been launched for everyone.

Instagram users with private accounts can now remove followers without the other party knowing. Previously, once a follower was approved the decision could not be revoked, and blocking was the only way to suppress communications.

Systrom also launched a self-harm reporting feature, which sees users able to anonymously report an Instagram connection in distress.

“If you believe that someone you care about may be thinking about injuring themselves, you can report it anonymously, and we will connect your friend to organisations that offer help,” the chief executive said.

“We have teams working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, around the world to review these reports.”

Instagram, as an anti-trolling measure, had previously launched the ability to filter out comments based on certain keywords. The social media giant claims an active monthly user base of 500 million and reportedly facilitate 95 million photo and video shares each day.

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