Instagram Launches Two Anti-Bullying Features This Wednesday

Man holding smartphone.

Man holding smartphone.

In light of October, being National Bullying Prevention Month, social media platform, Instagram, will be rolling out a new anti-bullying feature. After testing its new “restrict” tool with a small group of users, Instagram is now making it available for all users in an effort to continue expanding its anti-bullying efforts- a topic that Instagram has been increasingly focused on since Adam Mosseri took over as head of Instagram in 2018.

Anti-Bully

Lately, Instagram has been testing new features to combat bullying and insecurity on their app. After testing a new feature, restrict, with a small group of Instagram users, the social platform is releasing it to the public. Much like the “block” button, the restrict tool is designed to protect you and your account from unwanted interaction.

We are committed to leading the industry in the fight against online bullying, and we are rethinking the whole experience of Instagram to meet that commitment,” Mosseri wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. [1]

Unlike blocking someone (which prevents the blocked user from even viewing your profile), restricting someone will still allow the restricted user from viewing your profile, commenting on your posts, and sending you messages. However, when you restrict someone from your account, that person’s comments must be approved by you before they are made public and they will not be able to see whether or not you have read their messages or if you are currently active on the app.

Restrict was made to provide an alternative for those who feel uncomfortable outright blocking someone. Restrict allows a user to restrict interaction without having to fear retribution from the person in the future. Unlike when someone gets blocked, being restricted does not affect the restricted person’s account, after you’ve enabled “restrict” on someone’s profile, their comments become visible only to them, allowing you the option to make the comment public or not.

Instagram released another anti-bullying feature today as well; an AI that will warn users if a comment they’re about to post could be viewed as “offensive.” According to Instagram, this AI will help users rethink their comments as well as discourage any inappropriate or rude comments.

Address the Issues

Facebook is trying to make as much money as it can from the little Instagram app, every hour someone spends on the app is more revenue for the company, unfortunately, if bullying on the app drives users away, that potential revenue leaves with them. Although addressing bullying on the app could alienate current users and force them to move to different platforms, Mosseri believes that doing nothing and allowing bullying to continue could put a far worse strain on the company. “[Bullying] could hurt our reputation and our brand over time” Mosseri said when asked about his newest features. “It could make our partnership relationships more difficult. There are all sorts of ways it could strain us.” [2]

“If you’re not addressing issues on your platform, I have to believe it’s going to come around and have a real cost,” Mosseri says.


Notes:

  1. ^Instagram’s anti-bullying tool lets you ‘restrict’ problematic followers.” Engadget, 2 Oct. 2019, www.engadget.com/2019/07/08/instagram-anti-bullying-tools-ai-offensive-comments-restricted-followers/?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZW5nYWRnZXQuY29tLzIwMTkvMTAvMDIvaW5zdGFncmFtLXJlc3RyaWN0LWFudGktYnVsbHlpbmctdG9vbC1sYXVuY2gv&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAFxiJFnfnPfA6Rve4zlr7odoSrdMYfHAuiu65Tup3LRc1dxmunxrL1NTuJYfi0M2Aw_0TkwYd_e9PsVzXfMnqsfe8UfX8ThkGmrcJtZ997NIWIyK_L9q6vdb4LUQeOVTn2_A_z-RFSAh0Nn_93gkh2orjvJCdHdYtLmAaJp1LnO0. (go back↩)
  2. ^Inside Instagram’s War on Bullying.” Time, 2 Oct. 2019, time.com/5619999/instagram-mosseri-bullying-artificial-intelligence. (go back↩)

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