Instagram is taking an unusual step to deal with the complicated ethics of online commenting. It's giving users the ability to make the choice about what's acceptable or not for themselves.

The network will soon allow users to filter their own comment streams -- and, if they wish, completely turn off comments -- on their own posts. While Instagram has general policies for what constitutes acceptable speech on its network, different words or phrases are offensive to different people. So this new feature is designed to let users take the mood of their accounts into their own hands and weed out comments that use terms that account holders find personally offensive.

“Our goal is to make Instagram a friendly, fun and, most importantly, safe place for self expression," said Instagram's head of public policy, Nicky Jackson Colaco, in a statement to The Post. "We have slowly begun to offer accounts with high volume comment threads the option to moderate their comment experience. As we learn, we look forward to improving the comment experience for our broader community.”

Is this the feature that was rumored to be used by Taylor Swift during her spat with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West last week? Instagram declined to comment. But, as Jackson Colaco's statement said, the firm has been testing the feature on prominent accounts ahead of its release.

High-profile accounts will also be the first to get the feature as it goes live in the coming weeks, as this gives Instagram the most valuable feedback in the shortest amount of time. All users will see changes to their comments in the coming months.

Instagram will also let users decide to switch off comments on their accounts on a post-by-post basis. That feature will roll out to high-volume accounts first, but it may roll out to more accounts in the near future.

Washington Post