Instagram's Latest Features Aim to Crack Down on Bullying
Social media is a powerful tool for creators, but it can also be a hotspot for bullying that can have severe effects on mental health, especially for young people. Last week, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri announced the launch of two new tools specifically designed to combat harassment and toxic behavior online.
These new tools are the most significant changes to take place at Instagram since co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger left the company in September 2018. These changes are positive steps in the right direction for the social media platform.
Here are the changes and how they work:
“Are you sure you want to post this?”
For the first time, a social media site will ask users to reflect before posting a comment that might be hurtful. Instagram has spent years developing AI that can detect harmful language. Although there are challenges to using a computer to identify bullying, early tests of the feature are optimistic. According to Mosseri, receiving this message has lead some people to change their comments.
While users have long had the ability to block or report abusive accounts, some users report that they would rather put up with harassment online than block someone and risk escalating the situation. As a response, Instagram is rolling out a restrict feature. Similar to the mute button on Twitter, a restricted user won’t know that they’ve been restricted. Their comments will be visible only to themselves unless they are approved by the owner of the account. They also won’t be able to see if the person who restricted them is online or has read their DMs.
There’s still a long way to go in the fight against online bullying, but Instagram has taken some important first steps. We’re looking forward to seeing how these new tools impact online interactions and what new features are to come.