Let’s be honest, here – it’s not a good time to own a social media company. Platforms like Instagram have come under heavy fire recently with the suggestion that they provide users with an unrealistic ideal of beauty, which isn’t exactly wrong.
The social media giant, whose main point is sharing photos and videos with friends, has recently changed their standards for filters to prevent “fake beauty” filters from sharing false realities.
Now, they’re taking it one step further – the company has shared their plans to use AI software to troll captions in order to help prevent “bullying language.”
The recent move does not mark the first time Instagram has fought against cyberbullying, though it is getting a lot more public attention.
Earlier in the year Instagram started a similar initiative, but instead of working with captions, it worked with comments. If the platform detected you were using abusive or bullying language in a comment, it would show a warning asking if you really wanted to post that.
Users could proceed with the post, modify their comment, or learn more about why their language or comment was flagged.
Now, the same process is being applied to captions themselves, the little blurbs that go under the picture or video.
At the beginning of this year, Instagram reaffirmed its commitment to preventing cyberbullying and negative actions on the platform after being accused of not doing enough to prevent it.
The first step was removing all photos and videos of self-harm, or those that encouraged self-harm or taking one’s life. Now, that ban extends to memes, cartoons, and other ‘forms.’
The head and voice of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, published a statement about this next major step for the platform where he said the company was “rethinking the whole experience of Instagram” in order to help change and prevent cyberbullying.
“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,” he explained.
Mosseri said it was the responsibility of the platform to “create a safe environment on Instagram. This has been an important priority for us for some time, and we are continuing to invest in better understanding and tackling this problem.”
This is honestly more than most people expected Instagram to do, especially after banning filters that drastically altered one’s face or body shape. A spokesman for Cybersmile, an anti-cyberbullying charity, had nothing but good things to say about these Instagram changes.
“Tools like Instagram’s Comment and Caption Warning are a useful way to encourage that behavior before something is posted, rather than relying on reactive actions to remove a hurtful comment after it’s been seen by others.”