Instagram’s new feature is an AI powered war on bullying

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Instagram announced a new features today that it said are designed to combat online bullying. The Facebook-owned service seems to be trying to find ways to limit bad behavior without outright blocking posts or banning users.

“We can do more to prevent bullying from happening on Instagram, and we can do more to empower the targets of bullying to stand up for themselves,” wrote Instagram head Adam Mosseri in the announcement. “Today we’re announcing one new feature in both areas. These tools are grounded in a deep understanding of how people bully each other and how they respond to bullying on Instagram, but they’re only two steps on a longer path.”

The company announcement today of it’s rolling out this new feature uses AI to flag potentially offensive comments and ask the commenter if they really want to follow through with posting. They’ll be given the opportunity to undo their comment, and Instagram says that during tests, it encouraged “some” people to reflect and undo what they wrote. Clearly, that “some” stat isn’t concrete, and presumably, people posting offensive content know that they’re doing so, but maybe they’ll take a second to reconsider what they’re saying.

So by using this new option, you will be able to limit another user’s interaction with your account without making it obvious. If you restrict someone, their comments on your posts will only be visible to them, unless you approve a comment for general consumption. They also won’t be able to see if you’re active on Instagram or if you’ve read their direct messages.

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