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New Instagram Features Aim to Tackle Cyberbullying

Ross Kelly


Instagram Following tab

Instagram’s new Restrict feature allows users to restrict comments from individual users – making harmful or offensive comments invisible to everyone but them.

Instagram has announced a series of new measures to clamp down on negative comments and cyberbullying on the platform.

In a blog post this week, Adam Mosseri, head of the social media platform, said new features will aim to both prevent bully and “empower the targets of bullying to stand up for themselves.”

“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,” Mosseri explained.

Since the beginning of July, the social media platform has begun the roll-out of an AI-powered feature which notifies users when their comments may be considered offensive. This feature will encourage the poster in question to reconsider their comments.

When a user attempts to post a comment flagged for people potentially offensive or derogatory, Mosseri explained, they will be met with a pop-up which asks them to “rethink comments that seem similar to others that have been reported.”


Instagram has been using artificial intelligence to detect bullying and other types of harmful content, encompassing comments, images and video content featured on the platform, Mosseri said. However, the company is ramping up its efforts to clamp down on cyberbullying and negativity on the site.

“As our community grows, so does our investment in technology,” he said. “This is especially crucial for teens since they are less likely to report online bullying even when they are the ones who experience it the most.”

Instagram Cyberbullying


In 2018, Instagram launched its bullying comment filter which detects and hides bullying comments from the Feed, Explore and Profile sections of the platform. Following the initial success of the scheme, Mosseri announced in October 2018 that the firm had expanded the filter to comments on live videos to “ensure that Live remains a sage and fun place to authentically connect with your friends and interests.”

Another new feature rolled out by the social media platform, Restrict, will also help users protect themselves from ‘unwanted interactions’ online. This will allow people experiencing harassment or cyberbullying to restrict comments from individual users – making harmful comments invisible to everyone but them.

Restricted people won’t be able to see when you’re active on Instagram or when you’ve read their direct messages, Mosseri explained.

“While identifying and removing bullying on Instagram is important, we also need to empower our community to stand up to this kind of behaviour. We’ve heard from young people in our community that they’re reluctant to block, unfollow, or report their bully because it could escalate the situation, especially if they interact with their bully in real life,” he added.

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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