Instagram has announced two new features aimed at reducing bullying on the platform in what the company claims is a step toward “leading the industry in the fight against online bullying.”
The first feature, which is still being tested, allows users to “shadow ban” individual accounts. Should you wish to use this feature on a particular user, only that user and yourself can see their comments on your posts, similar to Facebook’s "Hide" comment feature. Writing on the company’s blog, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri explained:
Once you Restrict someone, comments on your posts from that person will only be visible to that person. You can choose to make a restricted person’s comments visible to others by approving their comments. Restricted people won’t be able to see when you’re active on Instagram or when you’ve read their direct messages.
The second feature, however, generates a pop-up to users when it detects that the comment may be abusive, asking them: “Are you sure you want to post this?”
This is part of a number of new incentives from the photo-sharing app rolled out to improve its users mental health and overall experience. The company has also revealed they are debating removing like numbers in an effort to reduce self-esteem issues caused by the competitiveness of social media numbers.
This particular feature has already started rolling out, and according to Instagram, early results have been positive. “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 have had a chance to reflect.”