Instagram taking new steps to reduce offensive and spammy comments using machine learning

In the seemingly never-ending fight against spam and generally low-quality comments on the internet, Instagram is taking new approaches in cleaning up comments on photos and videos. Instagram says it's the next step in its commitment to "foster kind, inclusive communities," but really it's just the right thing to do for our collective sanity online.

The first change is straight-up blocking offensive comments by default. Instagram knows that toxic comments discourage you from sharing on Instagram, so it is now by default applying a filter that will block offensive comments. You can still report individual comments that make it through, and can choose to turn off this filter if you'd like in the app's settings under "Comment Settings."

The filters can (and will) improve over time as they see more spam.

The next part is addressing spam comments — something that we've all seen in Instagram. Instagram has apparently formulated a spam filter that can remove spam in several languages. Hopefully this will help cut down on the pretty immense number of spam accounts as well.

Instagram says both types of filters are powered by machine learning and can of course improve over time as they see more of the types of content that should be blocked. With these filters in place, perhaps more people will consider having a public profile rather than taking the stronger choice of going to a private one just to avoid the spam and negative comments.

Andrew Martonik

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.