Livestreams on social media have been used to broadcast all the horrors of humanity. But the nature of live video has made moderating livestreams — and the comment trolling that sometimes goes along with them — a persistent problem for platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Now, Instagram is rolling out a new feature called Live Moderator that will allow creators to assign a moderator to their livestream who can report comments, kick viewers off a Live and turn comments off for a viewer. The tool comes five years after Instagram Live first launched and follows similar moves by TikTok and Twitter, which started allowing moderators on livestreams last summer.
The feature lets hosts focus on hosting. Previously, the host of a livestream was responsible for keeping tabs on the audience. Hosts had some controls, like the ability to disable commenting and the option to go live with anyone or only direct followers. But their primary job was running the livestream, not moderating viewers.
It’s almost surprising that Instagram took this long to build this feature. Facebook allows users to add moderators to their streams, and platforms like Twitch have shown what can happen to a platform that fails to control its trolls.
The feature also shows how serious Instagram is getting about creators, and livestreaming is becoming a significant tool for them. Over the past four years, livestreaming apps outgrew chat and video social apps, according to data from App Annie. If Instagram wants to keep up, it needs to create a safer space for creators to work.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated when Live launched. This story was updated on March 14, 2022.