Published On: Tue, Dec 6th, 2016

Instagram Adds New Features To Fight Cyber Bullying

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Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has taken measures to help put a stop to bullying on social media. It is doing so with the introduction of a few new features.

Cyber bullying has become a major problem. And it has a serious impact on teens and young children. There have even been instances of teen suicides related to bullying on social media.

We have all heard stories about how someone had personal information and even nude pictures of themselves posted on line without their permission. This has happened to celebrities and unknown people alike. Stars like Amy Schumer and Melissa McCarthy suffer through a barrage of body shaming comments on their social media accounts on a daily basis. These comments are not only posted on their own feeds on Instagram and Twitter, but on reposts made by the bullies.

People who post such negative comments have been dubbed “trolls.” And these trolls do not limit themselves to celebrities. They also post offensive comments on the Facebook pages and social media accounts of their classmates in school. Sometimes they even make these comments about people who they do not even know.

A Note from Kevin Systrom (@kevin): In September, I shared our commitment to keeping Instagram a positive place for self-expression with the introduction of a keyword filter for comments. Today, I’d like to tell you about new commenting features that we’re launching. In the coming weeks, you’ll be able to turn off comments on any of your posts. Previously this was only available for a small number of accounts. You’ll be able to tap “Advanced Settings” then select “Turn Off Commenting.” You can also tap the … menu any time after posting to turn comments back on. Also, we’re adding the ability to like comments by tapping a heart icon next to any comment. Liking lets you show support and encourages positivity throughout the community. These updates still mark the beginning. We will continue to work to maintain Instagram as a welcoming and safe place for everyone. To learn more about these tools and others, check out help.instagram.com. Kevin Systrom Co-Founder & CEO

A photo posted by Instagram (@instagram) on

So what are people to do? It is not easy filtering out other people from social media accounts and even when they are private they can still be copied and re-posted. Well Instagram announced today that it has taken measures to help the fight against cyber bullying.

Kevin Systrom, the co-founder and CEO of Instagram, stated in a blog post, “Since the beginning of Instagram, we have focused on making it a welcoming place for everyone. In September, I shared our commitment to keeping Instagram a positive place for self-expression. I’d like to tell you about a few more tools we’re launching to keep people safe.”

And how is he doing that? First Instagram has added new “Comment Control” features. These features will allow users to more easily filter out negative comments by adding a way to turn off all comments on a given post. Users will also be able to turn the ability to leave comments on and off at will. A like button will also be added. The company says that this will make it easier for users to have positive comments stand out from the rest.

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Instagram users have always been able to make their accounts private by only letting people that they approve have access to their posts. But believe it or not, up until now people could not remove a follower once the person was approved. Now users will be able to do so.

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Finally people will be able to anonymously report on the posts made by other users where they may be hinting at harming themselves. Many schools now monitor their students’ social media accounts for this very reason. It helps them fight cyber bullying while also giving educators the ability to look for warning signs of depression and/or suicidal thoughts in their students. Now you will be able to help a friend who makes such posts and Instagram says that it has teams working around the clock to review the submissions and reach out to the at risk users with offers of help.

So do will these changes end cyber bullying? Of course not. Instagram acknowledges that they are just a first step. And they are a step in the right direction.

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