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What You Should Know About How Instagram Is Fighting CyberBullying

It is going to get much harder for cyberbullying to get away undetected; at least on Instagram. Social media has gotten a lot of attention for the negative effects on children and young adults. One of such ills is the devastating effect of bullying and Instagram has announced their plans when it comes to fighting cyberbullying.


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Artificial Intelligence Helps

According to the Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, Artificial intelligence will be used to root out behaviours like insults, shaming and disrespect. Currently, social media platforms are being blamed for a lot of problems; and increasingly under pressure from Governments. Adam shares that, Instagram has declared war on bullying and want to lead the industry in this fight.

Instagram is one of the top apps for Teenagers. As popular as it with this age group, it also has the downside of bullies.

By one estimate, nearly 80% of teens are on Instagram and more than half of those users have been bullied on the platform. Research shows increasingly that bullying on social media has been linked to self-destructive behaviour.

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Mosseri, who used to work at Facebook, is dedicating engineers and designers to the cause. His team is doing extensive research, rolling out new features and changing company protocol, all with bullying in mind.

How Instagram Is Attractive to Bullies

Sheri Bauman, a counselling professor at the University of Arizona is an expert on bullying’s causes and effects. Instagram offers a “one-stop-shop for the bully” because everything needed to be a bully is all in this app; an audience, anonymity, an emphasis on appearances, and channels that range from public feeds to behind-the-back group chats.

A combination of more users and new feature brings with it a fresh opportunity for abuse. “Teens are exceptionally creative,” says the head of public policy at Instagram, Karina Newton.

Instagram has over 2 billion monthly active users and is the most engaged network after Facebook.

Instagram announced that it in addition to using Artifical Intelligence to search for bullying in comments; it would also start spotting bullying in photos.

Today, there are three separate bullying classifiers scanning content on Instagram. The scanning is across all types of content which includes, text, photos, and videos. Since they have been deployed, they are flagging content by the hour.

Different Types of CyberBullying

The forms bullying takes on Instagram have changed over time. There is plenty of what one might call old-fashioned bullying: According to Instagram’s own research, mean comments, insults and threats are most common. Some of this is easy to catch. Instagram’s text classifier, for example, has been well-trained to look for certain strings of words. But slang changes over time and across cultures, especially youth culture.

Users also find themselves victimized by bullies who go beyond words. On Instagram, there are so-called “hate pages,” anonymous accounts dedicated to impersonating or making fun of people.

Many teens have embarrassing photos or videos of themselves shared without their consent.

The team at Instagram is going even further by analyzing types of bullying. These include insults, shaming, threats, identity attacks, disrespect, unwanted contact and betrayals. The overall plan is to build artificial intelligence that is trained to understand each concept and better spot it. Additionally, almost every week some new form of bullying pops up that engineers had not thought to look for.

What is New on Instagram to fight Bullies

One of the new ways Instagram is tackling cyberbullying is what the company is calling a comment warning. When someone decides to comment on a post, if Instagram’s bullying classifier detects even “borderline” content, it will give that user a prompt. The prompt will encourage them to rethink their words.

The second is Restrict. The way this works is that a bullying victim will have the power to review comments from potential bullies before anyone else sees them. They can approve them, delete them or forever leave them in a pending state.

According to the Head of Instagram, kids under 13 are not allowed to have an Instagram account. However, people disobey the rule.

Instagram didn’t invent bullying. It is a problem that crops up anywhere that people congregate online. However, Instagram is fighting cyberbullying and increasingly doing much more to help protect their users.

According to experts, we are failing to teach kids how the Internet works before setting them loose on it. In reality, fighting against cyberbullying cannot be waged by technology companies alone. Everyone needs to play a part and there needs to be buy-in from parents, schools and children themselves.

A healthy digital media diet plays a large role in the life of your Teenager. Read more here on why your teenager’s physical and mental health is important. Are you a digital-savvy parent? Get up to speed with our Technology and Parenting Category.






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