Oct. 18, 2012 at 12:17 PM ET
In an effort to cut down on naughty, hateful, violent or otherwise undesirable pins, Pinterest is enlisting its users' help. Or it's at least empowering them to block and report things (and people) they don't think belong on the virtual cork board.
The addition of these features shouldn't come as a surprise considering that Pinterest has been struggling to stay on top of content which violates its community guidelines, such as pins which explicitly encourage self-harm or self-abuse, pornographic images, and so on.
According to Dannie Chu, a software engineer at Pinterest, users are now able to block others by clicking small flag icons on their profiles. This action will prevent the blocker and the blocked from being able to follow each other's boards, comment on or like each other's pins, or repin content from each other. A blocked person isn't notified if he is blocked, but we suspect that he'd quickly notice something is off when he is unable to interact with someone's pins.
If you see something that isn't just offensive to you personally, but against Pinterest's community guidelines as well, then you can use the "report user" feature. It does exactly what you think and alerts the site's community team of a potential issue.
In theory, these new features should help put a dent in the amount of undesirable individuals and content on Pinterest, but we're not too certain about how things will play out in reality. After all, we've seen how Facebook's reporting feature has led to floods of reports from trolls, the removal of acceptable content, and similar drama. There's currently no perfect approach to keeping social networks clean, mind you, so we'll take what we can get and hope for the best.
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