Instagram controls a good fragment of the online social community. And unfortunately for other social platforms, it seems to be growing larger and more robust with time—thanks to the frequent updates, development of new tools and endearing community of over 1 billion users.
Meanwhile, bullying is a hot-button issue on/off the Internet. The online bisection—called online bullying, cyberbullying, or cyber harassment—has been worsening on an everlasting basis.
According to the Telegraph, the online social community is its epicenter and social networks (like Instagram and Facebook) are a major agent of this upsurge. (Not-So-Fun Fact: Only two-thirds of the young people on social media have never been a victim of online bullying; behaviors of suicide or self-harm have increased with cyberbullying.)
Owing to this, California-based Adam Mosseri published an announcement on Instagram Press nine days after he was named Head of Instagram. The October 9 announcement was in great-esteem of the world's perpetual efforts on bullying, United States' National Bullying Prevention Month, and the forthcoming United Kingdom's Anti-Bullying Week.
The message was to introduce a number of new anti-bullying and pro-kindness tools, thereby showing relentless interest in strengthening positive values on the social platform while keeping negativity within bounds.
Bullying on Instagram: Let's talk about it
Instagram is an enormous community that serves diverse peoples from different places all over the world, each with unrelated objectives.
There are narcissistic individuals who upload pictures 10x in a day—just to show off their beauty. Concurrently, you'd find non-narcissistic people who care more about sharing knowledge to a particular audience through photos and videos. Organizations, agencies, and brands are also in attendance, with all their moves geared towards building a better business through user engagement, brand awareness, and improved Return On Investment (ROI) and Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) metrics.
However, one element that binds all these varying Instagrammers together is their prevailing love for visual imagery and the community.
Yet, bullying is quite evident on Instagram just like the physical realm. From the comment section to the DM section, this kind of hurtful behavior is very much alive on Instagram. But, these new tools are Instagram's way of saying "there is no place for bullying here," thereby creating a safe and kind community for every user. The Community Guidelines are in place to further keep users safe from harassment or upsetting intents.
New Tools for Regulating Bullying
1. Detect Bullying in Photos
From the announcement day through a couple of weeks, Instagram will be rolling out this new tool powered by Machine Learning technology. This tool was primarily developed to proactively detect photos Mosseri deem "unwelcome or unkind"—though they are less common than the conventional joyful photos. More so, bullying or unkind captions are also in check and the Community Operations team is in charge of reviewing such photos.
This development would encourage a safer and kinder community because the majority of people do not report bullying. Rather, bullying is being identified, reported, and removed almost automatically. One focus of this tool is the youngest members and teens of the IG community as they tend to witness bullying more than others.
2. Enhanced Bullying Comment Filter
If you've been on IG for some time now, you probably know a thing or two about bullying comment filter. But if you don't, bullying comment filter was introduced a few months ago to filter harassing or upsetting comments in a proactive manner. Just like the name implies, this tool helps detect and filter bullying exclusively in the comment section—and it is active globally.
However, it was only available on Profile, Feed, and Explore until now. Hateful comments on Live videos are now being filtered as 'authenticity' and 'safety' should be words that qualify the Live section. Thanks to this, Live will soon become a totally fun space to connect with both individuals and interests, and this new tool is now available globally.
New Tool for Promoting Kindness
1. Kindness Camera Effect
Yes, you read that right.
Instagram has taken this to a whole new level with a camera effect specifically designed to spread kindness and support friends. While bullying is today's area of discussion, kindness—its relative antonym—is another topic that has caught the attention of the folks at Instagram.
As a result, we have a kindness camera effect proudly supported by 16-year-old actress, model, author and dancer Maddie Ziegler to spur on kindness and mushroom love and positivity. As one of the few celebrities who employ Instagram as a means to promote positivity, Maddie has embarked on her anti-bullying journey ever since she experienced it herself.
There are two ways to use the kindness camera effect;
a) Follow Maddie
By following Maddie on Instagram, you have the camera effect activated by default. Follow the steps below to use.
- Open the Instagram app and swipe to open the camera.
- Select the camera effect by locating the face icon at the bottom and clicking on it.
You can use this effect in selfie mode, in which the screen lights up with hearts. As well, you'll be encouraged to support a friend by tagging him/her. This notifies the individual that you've mentioned him/her in your Story. They can either spread positivity by using the same effect or share the selfie to their Story as well.
In the rear mode, the effect enables an overlay of kind words written in diverse languages.
b) Try It
As explained earlier, Maddie is a big deal to the anti-bullying efforts of the Instagram community. Yet, you don't have to follow her to spread kindness on the social platform. The exclusive way to use the kindness camera effect without following her is to see it being used by someone else, then click on the "Try it" button to include the effect in your camera.
More Love, Less Hate
For more love and less hate, Instagram has a number of departments to further strengthen kindness and regulate bullying. One is the Instagram Help Center, which houses everything you need to know about Instagram—including the Privacy and Safety Center.
The Instagram for Parents page is a newly-launched resource for parents to manage how their young ones use Instagram to connect with friends and interests. The page covers everything from privacy management and comment filtering to safety tools and policies. You can even download the Parents' Guide.
Meanwhile, Instagram for Parents is a subsection of Instagram Well-Being, which hosts all sorts of well-being resources and guides ranging from support communities to digital well-being.
In the paraphrased words of Adam Mosseri, the work is not yet done; instead, Instagram as a company will press on with ensuring safety, protecting the community, and building a supportive environment for users to communicate, connect, and share.
As a brand or business, this is great news as Instagrammers are being encouraged to safely be themselves when using the social platform. Cheers!