instagram is rolling out a new anti-bullying feature

It's meant to help protect teens, who are less likely to block their bullies.

by Erica Euse
08 July 2019, 8:33pm

Photo by Eddy Chen/HBO

Instagram is ramping up its fight against bullying with the launch of a new feature called Restrict. According to an announcement from Instagram, the social media platform is looking to help users deal with bullies by offering an option that is less extreme than blocking. Research by the company found that while teens are at high-risk for abuse on the app, they are less likely to report bad behavior, or block their bullies.

As the name suggests, the new feature will allow users to restrict how they interact with their bullies. They will still see posts from the restricted users on their feed, unlike the block option, but comments and messages from the restricted will only be visible to them, until they are approved or deleted by the restricter. It will also make it harder for the bully to tag or mention those who have restricted them by ridding the auto-complete of the users name, forcing them to type in the full handle.

“The goal here, is to basically put some space between you and them,” Francesco Fugo, a designer who works on well-being for Instagram, told Time.

Instagram also announced the launch of a new artificial intelligence feature that will notify users if their comment could be considered offensive before they post it. The company is reportedly working on a larger project that will use AI to fight bullying and abuse on a larger scale, but it will take years to complete. In the meantime, the company hopes getting users to use these features will help.

Instagram will begin testing Restrict in the next few weeks and plans to give all users access before the end of the year.

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