Instagram at once becomes your most trustworthy aide in self-confidence, and your biggest enemy when you are vulnerable. Aside from the mental wishlists you keep making as you scroll through the feed of your friends, celebrities, influencers shopping, eating, vacationing, living – it also makes you susceptible to the cycle of cyber abuse. Even though like several other social media portals, Instagram has it’s elements of mitigating abuse in place, it has never really put a direct onus on the abuser or bully. Until now. With the help of Artificial Intelligence, the social media application will flag off potential negative comments on the basis of their language, i.e., if it is under the ambit of abuse, disrespect, shaming, and insult.
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From the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri (@mosseri): “We know bullying is a challenge many face, particularly young people. We are committed to leading the industry in the fight against online bullying, and we are rethinking the whole experience of Instagram to meet that commitment. 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. Today we’re announcing one new feature in both areas. 💙 Encouraging Positive Interactions In the last few days, we started rolling out a new feature powered by AI that notifies people when their comment may be considered offensive before it’s posted. This intervention gives people a chance to reflect and undo their comment and prevents the recipient from receiving the harmful comment notification. 🧡 Protecting Your Account From Unwanted Interactions With Restrict We wanted to create a feature that allows people to control their Instagram experience, without notifying someone who may be targeting them. Soon, we will begin testing a new way to protect your account from unwanted interactions called Restrict. 💛 It’s our responsibility to create a safe environment on Instagram. This has been an important priority for us for some time, and we are continuing to invest in better understanding and tackling this problem.” 💗 To learn more about these new updates, click the link in our bio. Artwork by @heysp
However, what is most important in this new feature is the feature of Instagram actively asking the bully / abuser if they want to go ahead with the comment based on the language. Which is where the onus comes. This is where the social media application hopes the conscience of the abuser kicks in. The ability of undo a comment after having had it flagged by Instagram’s AI enabled watchdog is where the true beauty of this feature lies. In order to manufacture a more empathetic and civil society, where positive interactions outweigh the negative ones, this feature is indeed hoping big. Instagram bullying is one of the reasons why people seek to digital detox. The very nature of dependency on external validation gets compounded with social media as you expose yourself to not just a close group of confidantes but literally, to the whole world. This is exceedingly becoming a cause for concern for youngsters and adults alike who look at social media for their self-worth. Granted that this feature will help diminish overt bullying and abuse but we must take this opportunity to introspect if as users, making ourselves so intrinsically receptive to how the world is behind digital veneers is turning us into someone who inadvertently bullies their own-selves too.