Instagram is introducing a bunch of new tools to tackle cyberbullying within the Instagram app. The social media company’s move comes in the month of October, which is National Bullying Prevention Month. Instagram's anti-bullying tools have been especially designed keeping in mind the younger audience that is targeted the most when it comes to bullying.
Instagram is currently testing the features, one out of which is automatically hiding comments that are similar to those that have already been reported. By tapping a ‘'view hidden comments’' prompt, the hidden comments can be revealed. A message will also be displayed, explaining the reason behind the functionality: “These comments were hidden because they look similar to others that have been reported or may contain spam. People can still tap to view them.”
Instagram already had an automated warning system that would alert a user if they tried posting a comment that Instagram’s system would detect as offensive. The hidden comments feature is just a more effective addition to it. It will also follow the same process, but will actively hide the problematic comments and keep them out of view. It is an effective approach to limit exposure and keep the content across the platform more civil.
Instagram is also improving comment warnings, by introducing a new alert that will go off for users who consistently post potentially offensive comments despite receiving warnings. The alert will warn the user of their account being deleted if they continue posting problematic comments.
Instagram seems to be improving as a social platform with the addition of these tools, as back in 2017, a survey showed that its platform was the worst one for mental health and wellbeing as a lot of users reported feelings of depression and anxiety due to engaging in activity across the platform.
Instagram's anti-bullying features will definitely provide an additional level of protection to its users and may have an effect on users who engage in offensive behavior, so they would think twice before engaging in such behavior online.