Instagram to fight online bullying with new feature Restrict

Social media platform Instagram has entered the testing stage of new feature - Restrict - which aims to help people who do not feel comfortable blocking.

Woman looking happily at her smartphone

Instagram is taking a stand against online bullying by testing out a new feature called Restrict which will make certain comments only visible to the person who wrote it. Restrict aims to give back control to the user, especially with the online visibility of hurtful comments. The new feature presents a subtle yet significant strike against online bullying, promising to change the way people interact with the social media platform. 

“While identifying and removing bullying on Instagram is important, we also need to empower our community to stand up to this kind of behaviour,” Instagram announced. Restrict is being presented as a less aggressive form of blocking. Rather than outright removing a person, the new feature filters their content according to what the page owner deems acceptable. 

Across social media platforms, there has been widespread concern over negative and hurtful comments being published but no action being taken against the accounts. Instagram is changing this hopefully for the better as they give the control back to the people who interact with their app. 

Recently, the social media company have started to release a new software which will notify a person if a comment may be offensive before publication. According to that Instagram announcement, “From early tests of this feature, we have found that it encourages some people to undo their comment and share something less hurtful once they had a chance to reflect”.

Last year, BeLonG To teamed up with Facebook to launch End Bullying, Be Kind Online, a guide to targeting cyberbullying. Further initiatives to create a safer space online can be seen in Grindr launching the campaign Kindr.

With bullying also being linked to substance abuse, as shown by this in-depth guide, there is a crucial need to reassess how people interact with social media.

It is important for social media companies to step up and tackle the bullying occurring on their platforms.

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