Instagram's Latest Move Is Huge For Kicking Bullies & Trolls Out Of Your Feed

If you’re a wannabe social media influencer, then you’ve probably had your blissful Insta-fame (i.e. getting more than 20 likes) shattered from haters who someone don’t appreciate the amount of time, effort and Starbucks bribery it took your roommate Instagram boyfriend/girlfriend to capture that perfect selfie. Since the conception of your account, you’ve probably just actively avoided reading any comments or DMs from your frenemies (like the one who’s still bitter that you got your ears pierced before her in the third grade.) However, Instagram is working to eradicate the bullies, creeps and trolls from your Instagram feed—because it’s 2018 and we don’t have time for toxic people in our lives.

While Facebook is allegedly still fumbling with its data-hoarding fiasco, the CEO and Co-founder of Instagram, Kevin Systrom said that the company would work to actively filter out comments that harass, offend or bully another individual or group of people: “Starting today, Instagram will filter bullying comments intended to harass or upset people in our community. To be clear: we don't tolerate bullying on Instagram. Our Community Guidelines have always prohibited bullying on our platform, and I'm proud to announce this next step in our ongoing commitment to keeping Instagram an inclusive, supportive place for all voices. We also believe in promoting kindness — encouraging our community to support one another both on and off Instagram."

 

From our CEO @kevin: “Starting today, Instagram will filter bullying comments intended to harass or upset people in our community. To be clear: we don't tolerate bullying on Instagram. Our Community Guidelines have always prohibited bullying on our platform, and I'm proud to announce this next step in our ongoing commitment to keeping Instagram an inclusive, supportive place for all voices. We also believe in promoting kindness — encouraging our community to support one another both on and off Instagram. On Saturday we will host a Kindness Prom to celebrate people on our platform who are spreading positivity. These young leaders are inspiring their peers by helping kindness, acceptance and support grow on Instagram and in the world. Since Mike and I founded Instagram, it's been our goal to make it a safe place for self-expression and to foster kindness within the community. This update is just the next step in our mission to deliver on that promise.” Check out the link in our bio to learn more about this update. Photo by @runnerkimhall

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Engadget reports that Instagram initially announced this anti-trolling initiative at the F8 conference on Monday. As engadget notes that back in Sept. 2016, the company initially debuted a feature that allows users to filter out content that contains specific words. In conjunction with this filter, Instagram’s latest technology will block offensive jargon, words and phrases that are meant to attack an individual’s appearance or character.

Though the 2016-era word-blocking feature requires users to manually input words and phrases they want to quash from invading their comments section, Insta’s new anti-trolling feature will require minimal work from Instagram users. (So we can finally spend more time spreading more positivity with our shameless #Caturday posts.)

Thankfully, as Hello Giggles notes, metaphorically signing Instagram’s anti-bullying initiative is relatively painless. If you’re interested in preventing trolls from disgracing your page, you can turn on the troll filter in Instagram’s Comment Control center, which will automatically flag and report harassment to Instagram.

Fast Company reports that, though getting on-board with this new feature is simple, the technology behind it is robust for its vigilant duties. Basically, this new feature used DeepText, which is an AI that constantly learns new language and can adapt to report problematic words, phrases and tags. Though some users might be leery that this Alien-esque synthetic reporting system could wrongfully flag content that isn't actually offensive, DeepText works to identify both potentially harmful language and the content in which it was used. 

Fast Company adds that DeepText’s adaptability could indirectly push trolls to change the spelling or their insults or pejoratives; however, the mere mortals at Instagram’s Help Center could aid DeepText’s fight against trolls. Because users will still be able to report problematic posts and behavior, the Instagram Help Center could also manually alter DeepText’s trolling detection capability. Thus, as trolls attempt to hide their vile language with alternate spellings and terminology, Instagram’s employers could physically program DeepText to recognize these terms as offensive in certain, but applicable contexts.

Though laborious for Instagram’s staff, this method would allow the feature to continually change with the ever-changing troll sub-culture without censoring users who might not be liable for harassment. Currently, what Instagram classifies as bullying, trolling or harassment might be a bit ambiguous. Nevertheless, Instagram’s revitalized AI could help prevent users from being subjected to harassment to begin with, which is a notable move given that trolls are still ever prevalent on social media. Regardless, it seems like Instagram’s new pro-positivity and anti-trolling movement is already working to clean up some problematic content on the social media platform.

Creating a more tolerant and welcoming social media platform will help self-expression flourish—without fear of repercussion from those Insta-sleuthing trolls. After all, we just want to attempt to figure out the new Instagram algorithm in peace, without having our DMs set ablaze by that jerk we ghosted after half a Tinder date.