Instagram rolls out new anti-bullying features

Ramona Ramdeen, Police Reporter

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Online harassment and cyberbullying have become the new buzzwords when it comes to social media. According to an article released in the Wall Street Journal this week, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter as well as video-sharing services like YouTube, have been under increasing pressure to monitor user behavior on fronts ranging from cyberbullying to catfishing.

This week, Instagram announced the roll out of two new features that will allow users to have more control over who is able to access their content.  One feature, “Restrict”, allows users to limit their reactions with those who target them; another prompts users to reconsider posts detected as offensive.

Other tools will rely on artificial intelligence to determine whether language in a post could be deemed offensive and prompts the person posting to reconsider. In a blog post on Monday, Instagram Chief, Adam Mosseri explained, “This intervention gives people a chance to reflect and undo their comment and prevents the recipient from receiving the harmful comment notification.”

Facebook, the parent company of Instagram, adopted a suite of anti-bullying features on its platform in October, allowing users to delete and hide comments on posts en masse. Facebook also allows users to anonymously report bullying or harassment that will then be reviewed by the company’s community operations team.

In late 2016, Instagram surpassed Twitter in number of daily active users. Some tech gurus suggest that this is because of Twitter’s hard stance on protecting freedom of speech and their lack of effort to protect users.

 “It’s our responsibility to create a safe environment on Instagram,” Mr. Mosseri said. “This has been an important priority for us for some time, and we are continuing to invest in better understanding and tackling this problem.”


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