Will Instagram become the King of Anti-bullying?

Instagram, the sixth largest social media platform, is making big moves towards defeating bullying on its platform.  Click To Tweet
Photo by Erik Lucatero on Unsplash

Let’s imagine that we’re back in the year of 2011. For some, the year 2011 brings romantic memories of William and Kate’s royal wedding, or never ending nights blasting Drake’s famed Take Care album. For one breakthrough social media platform though (Instagram), 2011 was its first full year in existence!

With Instagram came new and exciting ways to keep up with the activities of your closest friends or your favorite celebrities.

With Instagram came new and exciting ways to keep up with the activities of your closest friends or your favorite celebrities. Unfortunately, Instagram also brought an overwhelming amount of online/cyber bullying. As a member of this technology driven era and one of the first digital natives, I’m far too familiar with repeated anti-bullying lessons online and off. Cyberbullying is a prominent topic both in school and the media. But, since 2011, cyberbullying continues to be extremely visible across all social media platforms. What else is being done to address this demoralizing and at times, dangerous issue?

The Power Of Instagram

Over the past year, Instagram has implemented many new features on its app to combat bullying.

Over the past year, Instagram has implemented many new features on its app to combat bullying. Back in 2017, Instagram introduced a “comment filtering” feature enabling users to filter out specific words that had been posted in comments, and used in hashtags. This year they announced another feature called “Restrict” which is currently in the works for Instagram. Essentially, one user can restrict another’s comments from being seen on their feed. Comments by the restricted person are hidden from everyone else except the target user and restricted user. The user then has the power to determine the appropriateness of the comment and whether it can be viewed others. If the user decides the comment is inappropriate they can also delete rather than just hide the comment. Additionally, the restricted person will never know that they have been restricted so there is no unnecessary awkwardness or unpleasantness.

According to Adam Mosseri, the current head of Instagram, "we can do more to prevent bullying from happening on Instagram. We can also do more to empower the targets of bullying to stand up for themselves." Click To Tweet

The new anti-bullying features ultimately take the power away from the bully. They are no longer able to directly reach their victims. According to Adam Mosseri, the current head of Instagram, “we can do more to prevent bullying from happening on Instagram. We can also do more to empower the targets of bullying to stand up for themselves.”

Photo by Kendra Kamp on Unsplash

Lasting Effects on Social Media

As many of these new features are being implemented, the main overlying question is; how likely are they to actually work? Adam Mosseri, says he has learned from this younger generation that “they’re reluctant to block, unfollow, or report their bully because it could escalate the situation, especially if they interact with their bully in real life.” As a member of Generation Z, I can vouch for this statement.

For me, giving users more power over what they do or don’t want to see is a step forward. Click To Tweet

While it is very hard to see how much this could potentially affect the popularity of Instagram, it is still important to take a stand. I don’t know about you, but for me, giving users more power over what they do or don’t want to see is a step forward. Giving users control over who they do or don’t want to interact with adds more power. Basically, we could finally feel like we have more control over the plague we call bullying. Currently, Instagram is considered to be one of the top social media platforms with overwhelming amounts of bullying. Implementing more changes to tackle these issues could ultimately have a lasting effect on the app and maybe keep users from walking away.

What do you think about the steps Instagram is taking to end bullying? Share your thoughts and follow us @WeRGenZ on TwitterInstagramFacebook, or YouTube 

Sources:
Tiffany, K. (2019, July 9th). How Will Instagram’s New Anti-Bullying Features Actually Work?.

Marfo, A. (2019, July 9th). Instagram’s Fighting Back Against Bullying With An Array Of New Features.
Mosseri, A. (2019, July 8th). Our Commitment To Lead The Fight Against Online Bullying.