Instagram has added a new anti-bullying tool which prompts users to pause and consider what they are saying. It will also soon offer the targets of bullying the ability to restrict interactions with users who are causing them distress. Instagram has been under pressure to deal with its bullying problem after high profile cases.
Adam Mosseri, chief executive of Instagram, said ‘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. These tools are grounded in a deep understanding of how people bully each other and how they respond to bullying on Instagram, but they’re only two steps on a longer path.’
Instagram said it was using artificial intelligence to recognise when text resembles the kind of posts that are most often reported as inappropriate by users. In one example, a person types “you are so ugly and stupid”, only to be interrupted with a notice saying: “Are you sure you want to post this? Learn more”.
If the user taps “learn more”, a notice informs: “We are asking people to rethink comments that seem similar to others that have been reported.”
The user can ignore the message and post anyway, but Instagram said in early tests that “we have found that it encourages some people to undo their comment and share something less hurtful once they have had a chance to reflect.”
The tool is being rolled out to English-speaking users at first, with plans to eventually make it available globally.
The company said it will soon roll out an additional tool, called Restrict, designed to help teens filter abusive comments without resorting to blocking others.
“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, especially if they interact with their bully in real life,” Mr Mosseri said. “Some of these actions also make it difficult for a target to keep track of their bully’s behaviour.” Once a user has been restricted, their comments will appear only to themselves. Crucially, a restricted person will not know they have been restricted.
www.bbc.co.uk/technews (8th July 2019)