There’s a new Instagram anti-bullying feature aimed at preventing online harassment. There are already some features in place that can be used to block cyberbullies, but this software has been made specifically to catch direct, harmful comments.
According to a 2018 Pew Research Center study, 59 percent of US teens have been bullied or harassed online. Most of these victims think social media sites are doing a less-than-adequate job of addressing this issue, and Instagram is no exception.
That’s why the photo-sharing app, owned by Facebook, is experimenting with a new feature to combat internet bullying: an AI-powered tool that will alert users before they post a hurtful or offensive comment.
When a user types something negative in the comment box under someone’s picture, the Instagram anti-bullying feature will send them a notification that states “Are you sure you want to post this?”
Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, said in a blog post on the company website that in early testing, the new feature had already prompted some users to change their comments. “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,” he wrote.
“We’ve heard from young people in our community that they’re reluctant to block, unfollow, or report their bully,” he added. “It could escalate the situation, especially if they interact with their bully in real life. Some of these actions also make it difficult for a target to keep track of their bully’s behavior.”
Mosseri also announced a new tool called “Restrict,” which users can enable to hide a bully’s comments from their page. Those comments will only be visible to the commenter, once restricted.
Mosseri insists that Instagram itself is responsible for creating a safe social media environment. The company’s awareness of online harassment is refreshing, and they assert that tackling internet bullying will continue to be a priority.