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How many times have you spent several minutes, maybe even hours, planning and scheduling the perfect post to social media, only to receive a torrent of hate in response? I don’t mean disgruntled customers voicing a complaint. I mean the abusive, hateful, and often vulgar comments that flood social media posts from brands, celebrities, and anyone else who chooses to post on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

These awful comments have become so commonplace many just view them as an unfortunate fact of life, but some social platforms are starting to take steps to erase the hate from their sites.

This week, Instagram unveiled a new filter that users can enable to hide inappropriate or abusive comments and messages aimed at making the image-sharing platform a safer place for brands and users alike.

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According to the announcement from Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom, Instagram hopes the new feature will help foster a community where “everyone feels safe to be themselves without criticism or harassment.”

The new feature allows users to hide comments containing words or phrases that are frequently reported as inappropriate, but posters can also list custom keywords or phrases they wish to have hidden in comments under their posts.

While the feature gives posters more control over the comments they receive, it isn’t without its limits. The filter only blocks negative or inappropriate comments and can’t be used to block other abusive types of media uploaded to the site like image memes or videos.

Brands who receive rampant hate from trolls or abusive users also still have the ability to delete comments, report users, or block specific accounts.

Enabling the filter is easy. Just click the gear icon in your Instagram profile and click on the new “comments” feature. From there, you can toggle the filter on and off or add your own list of words or phrases you wish to have blocked from your page.

While the tool may be an effective way to filter out the random abuse many receive on social media, I would caution brands from using it as a way of hiding messages from users with legitimate complaints or issues, as that only tends to make matters worse.

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