Online bullying has been a topic of concern for years, and one that has been challenging to find a real solution to. Instagram is rolling out a new anti-bullying feature that detects insults, shaming, threats, identity attacks, disrespect, unwanted contact and betrayals from appearing on the screens of users.

Essentially Instagram has developed an artificial intelligence system that is “trained” to understand each concept and scan through feeds before negative content intrudes.  This new feature is called “restrict,” making it harder for bullies to “weaponize” the platform.

Subtler than blocking or reporting other users, which some users are very hesitant to do. the new restrict feature is similar to a one-way-mirror, as reported by TIME Magazine. This sensitivity screen gives Instagram users more control making it more difficult for bullies to target certain individuals. Restricted users won’t be able to tell that the user that has done the blocking is online.

What if a restricted user wants to tag you in a post? Well, Instagram has made it harder for restricted users to find you in the tag’s profile search (no longer recommending your profile as a pop-up) unless they remember the exact @username.

If you receive a direct message from a restricted user, Instagram won’t verify that their message has been read unless you choose to accept the DM request, and if you choose to reply, then the receiver must be unrestricted from your profile to leave a response.

Instagram will also notify commenters to rethink their words if comments are deemed offensive with the new “comment warning” pop-up feature.

It’s important to remember that bullying is actually challenging to define, especially when it comes to our fast paced and constantly changing culture. However, Instagram is doing its best to keep up with our new slang and changed behaviors with its new AI detection system.

In the upcoming weeks, Instagram will begin rolling out Restrict and the features should be available to all users before the end of 2019.

Positively Osceola would like to recognize Instagram for making a Positive Difference in combating online bullying and we’re hopeful that other platforms will develop similar anti-bullying features in the not too distant future!