If you feel very strongly about certain topics, social media can be a minefield. In the real world, you don’t always know the opinions your family or friends have on things like politics, religion, or other controversial issues. But online, you see everything. And sometimes it isn’t pretty.
In this article, you’ll find out how to see fewer posts from the people in your life (at least your social media life) who have opinions you don’t like. Further along in this article, we’ll also explore whether or not this is a good thing.
How to Filter Opinions on Facebook
On Facebook, it seems like there are more ways to filter unsavory opinions from your news feed almost every day. Whenever you see a post that makes you upset, just click the three dots to the right side of the post to see your options.
Here’s how these options will alter what you see from this person, group or page.
- Hide post: You won’t see that particular post, but you’ll also start seeing fewer posts from that person in your feed.
- Unfollow: This one is obvious. You simply won’t see their posts. This is one of the easiest ways to stop seeing annoying posts from a friend, while staying friends.
- Snooze: This is a fairly new feature. It turns off all posts from that person or group for a month. This is a good option when a short-term campaign is going on that you find annoying.
- Give Feedback/Report: If you feel like the post is extremely offensive, you can send feedback directly to Facebook about it and report it as a post that Facebook should consider removing entirely.
You can customize the list of people you’ve unfollowed by going to News Feed Preferences and clicking on Reconnect with people you unfollowed.
You can click on any of these people to follow them again. It may have been years since you unfollowed them. People mature and change.
Have a look at their wall and if their views aren’t so horrible anymore, re-follow them! It’s a lot simpler than unfriending and friending because they’ll never know about it. But at least you can live in peace.
Filtering Opinions on Twitter
On Twitter, cutting down on offensive posts in your feed is just as easy. When you see one you don’t like, just click on the drop-down arrow to the right of the post and you’ll see your options.
These are similar to Facebook.
- Mute: Removes the accounts Tweets from your timeline, but doesn’t unfollow or block the account entirely.
- Block: Not only will you never see anything tweeted from that account, but they won’t ever see anything you tweet either.
- Report: Save this for the lowest of the low. Report the tweet to Twitter and they will investigate.
I admit I’ve reported more Twitter accounts than I can count. Twitter is actually much better than Facebook about being fair and balanced in responding to posts that promote violence or hate, regardless who it’s directed against.
Filtering LinkedIn Posts
You would think that LinkedIn wouldn’t even need a filter, but you’d be surprised the sorts of things people are posting there. If you spot something you find offensive, just right click on the three dots to the right side of the post.
The options are similar to what you find on Twitter or Facebook.
- Hide: Remove only the post itself from your feed.
- Unfollow: Stop seeing any of that person’s posts on your feed.
- Report: Similar to Twitter and Facebook, for highly offensive posts, you have a report option.
Filtering YouTube Recommended Posts
You may not think of YouTube as a place for filtering posts since there’s really no “feed”, but whenever you watch a video, there are recommended “Up next” videos on the right. You can help YouTube customize its recommendations for you by clicking on the three verticle dots off to the right of each recommendation.
Click on Not interested, and according to YouTube, it’ll incorporate your feedback into its algorithm for giving you video recommendations. Over time, this should improve your YouTube experience by removing things that offend you from the recommendation lists.
Reporting Instagram and Pinterest Posts
Of all the social networks, Instagram is probably the least likely to put an offensive post in your feed. This is because most of the time these are images posted from people you already have chosen to follow because you liked their posts.
However, people do change, and you may occasionally come across an offensive post. Instagram offers far fewer options than all of the other social networks out there.
All you can do is report the post, and hope that Instagram takes care of it.
Don’t worry though, in 2017 Instagram implemented a new system that blurs anything they deem as “sensitive content”. This is defined by Instagram as content that may be inappropriate, but not so bad that it violates community guidelines. With that kind of system in place, the odds that you’ll need to report posts is pretty slim when you’re spending time on Instagram.
The same is true on Pinterest. All you can do is click on the three dots under the Pin, and click on Report.
Of course, if you find that person or page frequently pins things that bother you, the easiest approach is just to unfollow them.
Filtering Your Tumblr Dashboard
When you log into Tumblr you’re confronted with a whole lot of content and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Luckily you have a great option available to filter out the things you don’t like to see.
Just click on your account icon, and click on settings. Scroll down to the Filtering section.
Here you can turn on Safe mode, which lets Tumblr select and hide posts they deem as “sensitive material”.
You can take this a step further by adding Filtered Tags as well. This will prevent any posts that mention those topics from appearing on your dashboard at all.
Should You Filter, Block, or Report Posts?
As you can see nearly every major social network provides the ability to tailor your experience thereby either filtering or at least reporting offensive posts. But the question is what is deemed “offensive”, and who gets to decide that?
There are a lot of ethics that go into that question. Back in 2012, I reflected upon the growing problem of too many opinions and debates proliferating across the internet. In fact, the last few years have made it very clear that a large population of internet users seem addicted to getting outraged about one issue or another. People almost seem to be seeking out offensive content simply to express outrage about it—this seems to be most common on Twitter.
On the flip side, mobs of people are posting accusations about people in a troubling form of mob justice—shaming and discrediting people who may or may not deserve it. Should this be allowed?
Or is it wrong to censor anything at all, and should we simply accept the fact that everyone in the world now has a global platform to publish their opinion, however offensive that opinion may be?
This probably isn’t a problem that’s going to get fixed anytime soon. But in the meanwhile, nearly every social network gives you the ability to implement your own filtering solution.
Image Credit: SIphotography/Depositphotos