Instagram introduces new features to curb online bullying
Instagram on Monday said they will be debuting two new features to curb the growing problem of bullying and harassment on the social network.
Instagram hopes its two new features will prevent bullying in the first place as well as provide tools to those who are being bullied.
Head of Instagram on Adam Mosseri, announced the launch of the new AI feature that will notify users when a comment they write could be considered offensive before they post it.
Instagram said it will also soon begin testing a new feature called “Restrict” that will allow users to hide comments from specific users without notifying those users that they’ve been muted.
Speaking to Time, Mosseri said the company is willing to make decisions that keep its users safe from online bullying, even if it leads to decreased usage.
“We can do more to prevent bullying from happening on Instagram, and we can do more to empower the targets of bullying to stand up for themselves,” said Mosseri.
Facebook has been working to improve how often it proactively manages bullying and harassment across its family of apps, including Instagram.
In May, the company reported that it took action on 2.6 million pieces of bullying or harassing content during the first quarter. Of that content, Facebook only proactively found 14.1 percent before users reported it.
When it comes to posts, the user will have the ability to review any comment that the bully writes on one of their photos or videos.
They can approve the comment so everyone can see it, delete it so no one can see it, or leave it forever in a pending state: invisible to everyone but the bully, who will have no indication that anything is out of the ordinary.
The user doesn’t have to read the comment either; it will show up behind what Instagram calls a “sensitivity screen,” requiring the user to tap on the comment to approve or delete it. Do nothing, and it stays hidden in a pending state.
When it comes to direct messages, the restricted person will still see conversation threads they’ve had with the user in their main inbox.
But, on the other end, the user won’t be notified when the bully sends them a message and won’t see the thread in their main inbox; instead, restricted threads will be diverted to the area reserved for message requests, where things like spam are typically relegated.
If a user seeks the messages out and wants to respond, they’ll have to un-restrict the bully to do so.