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Instagram moves beyond its all-or-nothing approach to comments

You can also report live streams when someone could use a helping hand.
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Japp Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Instagram already has tools to filter your comments, but sometimes that's just not enough. What if you're tired of comment spam, or just don't like that creep who tries to flirt with you on every post? You can finally do something about it outside of reporting individual users. Instagram is rolling out comment tools that give you tight control over who can leave feedback on your photos and videos. So long as your account is public, you can set broad controls (such as limiting comments to people you follow). And even if your account is private, you can block specific users.

The social network is also mirroring its parent company by introducing anonymous reporting for livestreams. If you see a live video where someone is depressed or otherwise struggling with mental health issues, you can report the feed -- the broadcaster will get a prompt offering mental health resources, such as help line contacts and an offer to talk to a friend. Instagram says it has response teams available 24/7, so there should always be someone who can help.

The additions are arguably overdue when Instagram has a huge user base -- now up to 800 million people, or 100 million more than it had less than half a year ago. Many people use Instagram as their main social network, and there have been many instances of abuse ranging from body shaming to stalking. These tools give you a way to keep that abuse in check without completely isolating your account, and should also counter the effects of that abuse when it slips through your defenses.

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