Instagram cracks down on bullying with AI messages and ‘Restrict’ feature

Instagram wants to give more anti-bullying options besides blocking, unfollowing or reporting

Instagram Restrict

Instagram has revealed two new features aimed at protecting people from bullying on its platform.

The first feature is the addition of artificial intelligence-powered messages that will notify people when they’re about to write a potentially offensive comment. The feature, which Instagram began rolling out a few days ago, will ask the user “Are you sure you want to post this?” before the comment goes live and provide a ‘Learn more’ button to offer them more context.

In a blog post, head of Instagram Adam Mosseri said the feature is intended to encourage users a chance to reflect on what they’re typing and give them a chance to undo their comment before it becomes public.

While this feature relies on bullies reigning themselves in, Instagram’s second new option will give more control to the people actually being bullied.

According to Mosseri, some users have said that the standard block, unfollow or report options aren’t enough because they may escalate the situation, especially if they interact with the bully in person. Additionally, Mosseri notes that these features can make it harder to keep track of what a bully is doing.

With that in mind, Instagram will soon begin testing a new ‘Restrict’ feature that limits interactions between bullies and their victims, rather than prohibit them altogether.

In practice, Restrict acts like a one-way mirror.

Instead of blocking entirely, you can choose to mark a bully as ‘restricted,’ which will hide their comments from everyone except themselves. The comment will only be made visible once it has been approved by the user. Comments will be hidden behind a ‘sensitivity screen’ so that you will only see them once you manually open them.

Additionally, restricted people will be unable to see when you’re active on Instagram and any direct messages they send will go to your spam folder. The bully won’t be notified if you’ve read their message. If you choose to respond to them, you’ll have to un-restrict their account.

Finally, it will be harder for restricted users to pull up your account. Normally, Instagram will begin suggesting handles based on the letters that you’re typing, but restricted users will not be given such assistance. Instead, they’ll need to know your full Instagram handle and type it in manually just to bring it up.

Instagram did not say which users will receive Restrict during the testing period or when the feature will roll out to a wider audience. However, Mosseri more updates will be shared “soon.”

Source: Instagram