Instagram Finally Tackling Cyberbullying Through AI

Cyberbullying - the harassment using electronic means - is a growing problem in modern society with a study by an international anti-bullying charity estimating 5.43 million young people in the UK have been the victims of cyberbullying with 1.26 million people suffering extreme cyberbullying on a daily basis. Looking to challenge this is the UK’s second most popular social media platform Instagram through the use of AI.

They are introducing a dual pincered approach with the first prong being inviting users to rethink whether they want to post an offensive or harmful comment. Instagram does this by using AI through algorithms to identify negative comments while they are being posted. It then asks the user “are you sure you want to post this” before it is officially posted on another user’s post. The intention is to encourage users to undo their comment and then publish something less hurtful after some reflection. Therefore although it doesn’t prevent negative comments being published it has had considerable success in persuading people not to.

Example of A Comment that Would Trigger Instagram’s Detection System

Example of A Comment that Would Trigger Instagram’s Detection System


The other prong of Instagram’s initiate to tackle cyberbullying is to introduce a feature called Restrict which enables users to reduce another user’s presence on their account. It does through a range of features such as allowing users to control the comments they see on their profile. It will also mean that people who are “restricted” can not see when you are active on Instagram or when you have read their direct messages.

Instagram has finally taken a much needed more proactive approach to tackle cyberbullying and Adam Mosseri the head of Instagram sums up their current stance:

We can do more to prevent bullying from happening on Instagram, and we can do more to empower the targets of bullying to stand up for themselves. Today we’re announcing two new feature. These tools are grounded in a deep understanding of how people bully each other and how they respond to bullying on Instagram, but they’re only two steps on a longer path.
— Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram