Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom is trying to make social media a harassment-free zone, according to a new profile in Wired. And for Taylor Swift, that means removing the snake emoji from the pop star’s comment feed.
It all started around July of last year, when Swift was in the middle of a fierce, now-infamous feud with Kanye West and wife Kim Kardashian. Swift was accused of treachery, and suddenly, the comment section of her Instagram filled with snakes — or, as writer Nicholas Thompson puts it, her feed “began to look like the Reptile Discovery Center at the National Zoo.”
Systrom’s solution? A filter that automatically removes selected words and emojis from users’ feeds. It’s the same filter that Instagram made available to all users last September, just one new feature in a string of efforts from Systrom and his team to clean up the internet. In June, Instagram gifted users the ability to automatically hide offensive comments.
Wired also notes that a new system called DeepText, which helps computers recognize inappropriate and offensive language, is being tested on Kanye lyrics. You read that right — apparently, the system isn’t smart enough yet to understand ‘Ye’s metaphors.
“Every line in this sequence got banned when it was put through: ‘For my southside n***as that know me best/ I feel like me and Taylor still might have sex/ Why, I made that bi–h famous,'” Thompson writes. “It was entirely at ease, however, with more creative Kanye insults like ‘You left your fridge open/ somebody just took a sandwich.'”
A number of musicians have quit or threatened to quit social media in recent years over online harassment. Demi Lovato briefly shut down her Instagram and Twitter last summer over the issue, and in July, Ed Sheeran considered leaving social media due to the amount of abuse he receives from commenters.
Check out the full Wired article, here.