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Instagram’s New Anti-Bullying Tools

July 11, 2019

Instagram’s New Anti-Bullying Tools

Let’s start with some not-so-fun facts, did you know that according to US students, the most common type of online harassment takes the form of “mean comments”? And that a survey of 3000 students in Asian countries revealed that 47.3% have been a victim of hate speech? And that Instagram is the platform where cyberbullying is the most prevalent with 42%?

The usage of social media is always increasing with 3.48 billion social media users in 2019, a 9% increase from 2018. Coupled with the fact that bullying is one of the most critical issues in our society, specifically among the younger generation who also happen to be the biggest users of social media, anti-bullying measures had to be implemented.

Luckily, Instagram seems to know the fact they have a bullying problem, and they are doing something about it. 

Are you sure you want to post this? 

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”… nope. 

Instagram introduced a new automated warning that comes up when a user’s comment contains harmful or offensive words, giving users a chance to review their comments before posting.

The automated warning is prompted by the use of certain words, and will alert the user with a notification “Are you sure you want to post this? Learn more.”

Given that written comments have no vocal tone, words and comments can be easily misinterpreted, and taking a second look at the comments before posting may, in fact, be the obvious solution we have been missing. 

“This intervention gives people a chance to reflect and undo their comment and prevents the recipient from receiving the harmful comment notification. From early tests of this feature, 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.” – Instagram

To block or not to block, that is the question… But what’s the answer? 

Blocking someone on Instagram that you know in real life…Hard, isn’t it?

Instagram is testing a new “Restricted” mode that will give users a new way to deal with unwanted followers without alerting them. With the “restricted” mode, only you and the user getting restricted can see their comments, this way significantly reducing the “bully’s” reach. Also, The restricted users won’t be able to see when you are active on Instagram nor when you read their direct messages. 

“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. We wanted to create a feature that allows people to control their Instagram experience, without notifying someone who may be targeting them. Soon, we will begin testing a new way to protect your account from unwanted interactions called Restrict. Once you Restrict someone, comments on your posts from that person will only be visible to that person. You can choose to make a restricted person’s comments visible to others by approving their comments.” – Instagram

What do you think of these new updates? Share your thoughts below and let us know.

Stay tuned for next week’s edition of #SocialSpeak, to stay up to date with the latest, in the social media world.

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