Instagram tackles online bullying with new features for users

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been an increase in kids and teens using digital platforms. And it’s not just their personal use, they’re using digital platforms for educational purposes. Because of this increase, online bullying rates went up. This makes sense, of course, because there’s now an almost limitless number of potential targets and aggressors.

So, as part of its efforts to tackle online bullying, Instagram announced a series of new features meant to help users better manage negative comments as well as highlight positive ones. It’s also adding new controls to manage who can tag or mention you on Instagram, which can be another source of online bullying.

Previously, the platform allowed users to restrict comments without alerting attackers. It’s now allowing account owners to delete negative comments in bulk, as well as block or restrict multiple accounts at once.

Delete bulk negative comments

With the new features, iOS users can tap on a comment, which will then display a dotted icon on the top-right corner, to select a ‘Manage Comments’ option. From there, they can pick up to 25 comments to delete at once. They can also tap on ‘More Options’ to block or restrict several accounts simultaneously. While Android users have already been able to delete several comments at one go, they can now also block or restrict accounts in bulk by holding onto a comment and tapping on the dotted icon, which will display options to block or restrict the selected accounts.

Be positive to fight online bullying

Another new feature, Pinned Comments, will soon launch as a test. The idea here is to give Instagram users a way to amplify positive comments. This can help set the tone for the community and encourage more positive interactions, as a result. However, this seems like backtracking after the company previously hid like counts. When the feature goes live, users will be able to select and pin a number of comments to the top of their comments thread, where they’re more easily seen.

The company also made improvements to its image and text matching technology to find more suicide and self-injury content on the platform. As a result, it increased the action on this content by 40% and increased its proactive detection rate by more than 12 points since its last report. The technology used to find and remove child nudity and sexual exploitative content was improved across both Facebook and Instagram, as well.

What are your thoughts on these new anti-online bullying features? Do you think they will have a positive impact? Share your thoughts and comments below or on social media.