Instagram Combats Cyberbullying with New Features

September 27, 2017


Social Media


76% of teens today use Instagram… that’s 20 million kids.

And 25% of these teens say they’ve experienced bullying on their phone.

This is no longer the days of good ole’-fashioned whispering-behind-your-back (girls) and punching-in-the-courtyard (boys… mostly) aggression: bullying has taken on a new, more anonymous, life form. And, perhaps due to this anonymity, as well as the enhanced publicity of an online post, its also become more dangerous.

Instagram is doing its part to tackle this problem by devising 3 new features to stop online abuse:

  1. Instagram now uses artificial intelligence to send alerts if a comment appears abusive.

  2. A new feature can block out specific words tied to abuse, using keyword filters.

  3. A third new feature allows you to block whole groups of people, not just individuals.

A quick step you can take right now to make your profile safer: After updating your Instagram app, click the settings wheel in your profile (near edit profile), and scroll down to “comments.” In “comments,” turn on “enable keyword filters.” Instagram already created a list of potentially-abusive keywords, but you can also mechanically add specific words. Also, if you go to “allow comments from,” you can choose who can comment on your profile and ensure only followers or people you know can comment.

Kevin Systrom, Co-Founder and CEO of Instagram, says: “Since the beginning, we’ve tried to make Instagram a welcoming place for everyone. Our community has grown to 800 million, with 500 million using it every day. It’s more important than ever to strengthen our commitment to safety and kindness.”

To check out more of their enhanced safety features, click here.

This is not to say Instagram is perfect by any means: It’s still a self-esteem killer for anyone who falls into the Everyone else is living a perfect life except me trap. I mean, when was the last time you Instagrammed a picture of yourself straight out of bed in the morning… or the last time you Instagrammed your bank statement with the caption, “Oh shoot, I spent all my money on a Domino’s pizza last night and now my account reads $0”?

No filter in the world will make that look good.

Of course, this isn’t Instagram’s fault–it’s ours. But despite this flaw, Instagram still does a pretty good job of remaining a blissful place on the internet. Hopefully, with these features, it can stay that way.

Check out our other posts about Instagram.