Okay so lest we forget that this time last week, we were rejoicing over the #breaking #news that Kim Kardashian showed us all the receipts (and Taylor Swift was revealed to be a master media manipulator, what’s up).
But now there’s more. But it’s not exciting or “I KNEW IT’ — it’s like, “Oh, well obviously this is happening because it’s Taylor Swift.”
Instagram has given Tay a tool that automatically deletes all negative comments (not designed specifically for her, but still) without those comments having to be individually x’d, which means anything bad is basically automatically deleted, snake Emojis and all.
The feature is currently being tested on a slew of high-volume accounts which is great, but also a massive bummer when you think that a) we’re not talking about Twitter, where certain people have been driven away by hate, and b) they’re not testing it out on Kim K’s, so WTF.
“We’re always looking for ways to help people have a positive experience with comments on Instagram,” said a statement to Vogue UK. “We’re currently focused on providing tools to improve accounts with the most high-volume comment threads, and we will use our learnings to continue to improve the comment experience on Instagram.”
And like, okay, cool! I am all anti-harassment, all the time. But, while Taylor Swift is the second most-followed account, what about the accounts that are subjected to abuse on a regular basis without boasting Swift-levels of notoriety? What about harassment not based on snake Emojis? What about the type of abuse Leslie Jones was forced to endure? Like, abuse based on race or gender or sexuality? Basically: while T-Swift is a great account to test this feature out on, we need to see it applied to a variety of users. Because otherwise it just looks like a whole lot of privilege (which it obviously is because she is very privileged).
So to this I say: okay cool! If this is a feature that will protect every user, bring it on. Online abuse is terrible, and if everyone can be privy to something that will protect their well-being, that’s the jam, and I’m psyched for it. But if it’s something as elusive as an Instagram blue checkmark, then we need to have a chat. Mainly because the majority of us will never reach Taylor Swift levels of notoriety, and if we reserve self care for the elite, then we’re operating under a two-tiered social media system — and Twitter has already shown us exactly as useless and damaging as that can be.