Instagram planning to combat online bullying with two new features

Instragram restrict

InstagramScreenshots shared by Instagram showing how ‘Restrict’ will work

Instagram has announced new features aimed at curbing online bullying on its platform, including a warning to people as they are preparing to post abusive remarks. From now on, the platform will guilt-trip everyone who tries to post a nasty comment.

"Once you Restrict someone, comments on your posts from that person will only be visible to that person", explains Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri on the company's blog.

It's unclear when the second feature will be rolled out onto the platform. "For years now, we have used artificial intelligence to detect bullying and other types of harmful content in comments, photos and videos".

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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 it seems that there's always something to improve.

The first new feature is an interesting AI-powered feature that nudges potential harassers to rethink their actions. Mosseri writes that this feature is "especially crucial for teens". So what happens when there are comments that defame or bully these people? It was my first thought, at least.

The new feature allows users to review comments and decide their visibility before they're displayed.

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The next feature is going to be way more useful, though. But it's certainly a step in the right direction, with Instagram having already tested similar measures such as an offensive-comment filter. Using Restrict means the person being blocked will not realize it's happening.

"We've heard from young people in our community that they're reluctant to block, unfollow, or report their bully because it could escalate the situation", Mosseri writes, "especially if they interact with their bully in real life". "Some of these actions also make it hard for a target to keep track of their bully's behavior".

The AI recommendation feature is now rolling out and the Restrict feature will be coming out soon.

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About 59 percent of U.S. teens have been bullied or harassed online and most think social media sites are doing a fair or poor job of addressing this issue, according to a 2018 study by the Pew Research Center.

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