Instagram has announced new tools to help combat bullying on its platform, including a new way to automatically identify bullying in photos and report it.
Online bullying is a complicated matter, and it’s not just enough for users to report content so that it is removed. Adam Mosseri, the new Head of Instagram knows this, and admits that there is more work to “further limit bullying.” That’s why, as part of the company’s wider efforts to avoid and hopefully eradicate abuse from its platform, Mosseri announced several tools that “help combat bullying, including a new way to identify and report bullying in photos.”
The first of these is one that uses machine learning technology to “proactively detect bullying in photos and their captions” and then send them to Instagram’s Community Operations team for review. This will hopefully help “identify and remove significantly more bullying” from the platform automatically, as a significant percentage of bullying that is either experienced or observed is never actually reported.
Mosseri explains that it “will also help […] protect our youngest community members since teens experience higher rates of bullying online than others.” The new technology has started to roll out and will continue to in the next few weeks.
The second tool is a new bullying comment filter that Instagram is now adding to Live Videos. Up until now, the comment filter has been active in hiding bullying comments from Feed, Explore and Instagram Profiles. This feature is now globally available for all live videos.
The third isn’t a tool to stop bullies. The new “kindness camera effect” – available to you if you follow New York Times best-selling teen author, dancer and actor, Maddie Ziegler – exists to spread positivity. As Mosseri explains, “Maddie has been speaking out against online bullying since she started experiencing it and is one of many people in our community that uses Instagram to promote positivity.”
To use it, you need to swipe to open the camera, tap the face icon at the bottom, and choose the new camera effect. In selfie mode, hearts will fill the screen — and users will be encouraged to tag a friend they want to support. The friend will receive a notification that they were mentioned, and they can then share it to their own story, or use the camera effect to spread kindness to someone else. Switching to the rear camera will bring up an “overlay of kind comments in many languages.” If you don’t follow Maddie, you can try the camera effect by finding someone else who has the effect and tap “try it.”
The timing of the launch of these new features is not random. As Mosseri explains, Instagram is announcing them “in honor of National Bullying Prevention Month in the US, the upcoming Anti-Bullying Week in the UK and anti-bullying efforts around the world.”