Instagram is prioritising user safety and comfort with new tools

27 Sep 2017

Instagram is striving to create a safer experience for its 800m users. Image: PixieMe/Shutterstock

Instagram debuts toolkit to put safety and abuse protections front and centre.

Yesterday (26 September), Instagram announced that there are now 800m users in its community, with 500m of these using the app every day.

With such a large user base, the company now wants to reinforce that Instagram should be a “safe and positive place for self-expression”.

Customised comments

As part of Instagram’s ongoing positivity and safety strategy, if your account is public, you’ll now see a new method of choosing who gets to comment on your posts. This has been a much requested feature, and users can now select groups of people, setting comment privileges to mutual followers only, for example.

Regardless of the public or private nature of your account, you will also be able to block other accounts from commenting at all.

In June, Instagram launched a filter to block certain offensive comments in English and now this is being rolled out to other languages, including French, Arabic and German.

Mental health supports

Another useful feature is the anonymous reporting for live video. If you see someone who you may think requires support during a live broadcast, you can now report this anonymously. The distressed user will then receive a message with helpline information, asking them to reach out to a friend for support.

This follows a strategy that Google debuted in August, prompting users with a quiz if it thinks they may be depressed.

The reports will need to be monitored carefully by staff while someone is still streaming, with Instagram saying: “We have teams working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, around the world, to be there when people need us most. This is an important step in ensuring that people get help wherever they are – on Instagram or off.”

Instagram also launched a #KindComments initiative, collaborating with talented artists to turn walls around the world into colourful murals, in an effort to create a movement that promotes a welcoming and safe online community.

Hey All ! I'm setting off at the end of the week on a mural tour with my friends @instagram celebrating their #kindcomments campaign. I will be putting up kindness themed murals across the US and our first stop is Dallas TX. I'll be painting at 2649 main st in Deep Ellum this Friday with a mural unveiling and celebration Saturday 9/30 at 10:45am. It's free and open to the public so stop by if you want to get colorful! Also if you've got any other walls in the Dallas area that could use a new look, drop an email to . Lastly, if you're far away from Texas but still want to be included feel free to leave a kind, inspirational, or uplifting message for someone you love in the comments below and I'll see if we can work it in to the mural. Thanks!

A post shared by Dallas Clayton (@dallasclayton) on

Instagram is striving to create a safer experience for its 800m users. Image: PixieMe/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects