Instagram has announced two new updates that aim to fight harassment and also empower the targets of bullying. The social network will now be showing a warning to users who are about to post an offensive comment and will be testing a new feature called Restrict that will potentially help users protect their account against harassers.
Instagram is a massive social network with billions of active users, and with growing popularity, the number of interactions grows, which can be both negative and positive. A significant percent of Instagram users are young and are the main targets of bullying as well as can be most affected.
While curbing negativity is the goal, Instagram has chosen a slightly different path to go about it. Rather than rooting out users that tend to bully others, Instagram wants to give them another fair chance and ‘encourage positive interactions’.
The company’s new AI-powered feature that can detect negative interactions will notify users if their comment seems offensive before it is posted by asking ‘Are you sure you want to post this?’.
According to Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, “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.”
How does the Restrict feature function?
The Restrict feature was developed, keeping in mind that users might have to deal with their bullies not only on Instagram but also in real life. According to user feedback received by the company, most don’t want to block or report a person because that makes it difficult to track them as well as might escalate the situation further.
Restrict will help users block out unwanted interactions from harassers while making sure that they don’t know about it. Restricting someone will make their comments invisible on your posts, except for that person.
Users can also choose to make their comments visible by approving. Restricted users won’t be able to see if you’re active on Instagram or have read their direct message.
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