Friday 12 July 2019 4:07 am

DEBATE: Will Instagram’s new anti-bullying features help to make the social media platform safer?

Will Instagram’s new anti-bullying features help to make the social media platform safer?

Derek Roga, chief executive of EQUIIS Technologies, says YES.

Instagram has been under a lot of pressure to tackle online bullies after a few highly publicised cases.

With the government taking action against online bullying and finding ways to prevent it, the social media platform has recognised the need for change, and placed innovation within its platform with the intent to keep users safe.

Its big fix comes in the form of artificial intelligence-flagged comments and the ability for users to restrict accounts from publicly commenting on their posts.


By implementing tools that are grounded in a deep understanding of how some people bully each other and how others respond to bullying, Instagram is encouraging users to rethink their actions while online.

These new features are a great example of how its tech is evolving and putting consumers’ safety and welfare at the forefront of the app.

This is a progressive step for the tech giant, and we hope that the results will be positive.

David McDougall, strategy and innovation director at Studio Output, says NO.

While it’s a big tick from me that attempts are being made to make Instagram safer, there’s still plenty to be done for the platform to be a safe space for everyone.

The new features are mostly focused on creating a positive experience for victims of bullying. But why can’t the lens be turned on the bullies themselves?

As with any form of design, it’s about encouraging changes in behaviour. In the same way as McDonalds and Transport for London are using classical music to prevent antisocial behaviour, more should be done to foster a supportive environment for identified bullies.


That might mean adding curated content to create a more positive, safer space for bullies – where they feel less insecure and angry. After all, it’s possible that bullies roaming the platform have mental health challenges themselves.

So if Instagram is truly focused on looking after its whole community, it needs to look after them as well.

Main image credit: Getty

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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