Instagram launches some new ways to silence trolls and cyberbullies

Instagram has announced a trio of features that can help users manage all the negative or hateful comments on their posts. This will also enable them to highlight the positive comments and manage who can tag or mention them in comments, captions, or Stories.

These features are especially useful for accounts having a large number of followers, like celebrities. It is very common to see all kinds of people coming and spewing venom in their comments, playing the freedom of speech card. Sometimes, there are coordinated attacks by online trolls on viral posts too.

Instagram has come up with a new feature that allows deleting comments in bulk and restricting specific accounts from posting negative comments. This feature showed positive feedback, so now Instagram has released it for mobile users.

For iOS users, all they need to do is to tap on a comment, select “Manage Comments” from the dotted icon in the top-right corner, and delete up to 25 comments in one go.

By tapping on “More Options,” they can block or restrict commentators and their accounts in bulk too.

For Android users, they will need to press and hold a comment and then choose Block or Restrict by clicking on the dotted icon.

The second feature from this trio is of Pinned Comments, which will allow the users to pin positive and encouraging comments to the top of their comment thread. This will boost the overall image of the platform as one that is against bullying and hatred and is always trying to set an air of optimism around.

This feature is in its testing phase now, but it sounds genuinely promising.

Twitter has a similar feature to let the users have some control over their posts and the way they allow others to interact with them by giving them the option to “Hide” replies. The comments or replies are not removed, they are just hidden, and can be viewed anytime the user chooses to.

Instagram’s approach is more “Cut Direct.” There is a chance that even valid criticism might get blocked this way, but then again, it is all to control bullying in any form, so it sounds all right at the moment.

The third feature that Instagram has rolled out is the option for the users to choose who can mention or tag them in comments, captions, or Stories.

It is either “Everyone,” or “Only People You Follow” or “No one” for all mentions and tags. Apart from this, whenever someone tags a user, they will have an option to manually approve or not those tags too.

The launch of these features is a part of the anti-bullying campaign, and it coincides with the release of Facebook’s fifth edition of its Community Standards Enforcement Report, which shared enforcement data for bullying on Instagram. As per this report, Facebook has taken strict action against 1.5 million cyberbullying pieces of content in 2019 and early 2020.

Facebook has also made improvements in its technology that matches image and text to find out and remove child porn, sexually exploitative content, and suicide and self-harm promoting content on both Facebook and Instagram.

All these necessary changes are important and efforts by Facebook to reinforce more positivity in an already negative environment are extremely commendable.

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