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Instagram introduces new feature to discourage bullying comments

Posted at 12:55 PM, Jul 12, 2019

Instagram is fighting back against instant bullying by making people think twice before they post a comment.

A new feature on the social media platform asks people if they are sure they want to make a comment containing flagged words like "fat" and "ugly."

Jeannine Luby teaches a social media course at King's College in Wilkes-Barre. She has mixed emotions about the update.

"I don't believe that software can teach them values. I think right now we're getting into this swipe left, swipe right mentality. We want really easy fixes, and this isn't an easy thing," Luby said.

While Facebook flags profanity, it doesn't detect all forms of cyberbullying.

Now, Instagram has flagged certain hurtful words and asks users if they are sure they want to post comments using those terms.

In a statement, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri said, "From the early tests of this feature, we have found that it encourages some people to undo the hurtful comment once they have a chance to reflect."

However, Luby said a better fix is offline.

"No matter what technology comes along or what software, we are people and we really need to be connecting kindly in person and then that's what we'll do online," she said.

In the next couple of weeks, Instagram will be rolling out another new feature to block bullies. Users will soon be able to restrict certain accounts, making it so that those accounts need approval before their comments are public.