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Instagram’s new ‘Restrict’ feature is a positive step in preventing bullying

Instagram’s new ‘Restrict’ feature is a positive step in preventing bullying

Instagram’s new ‘Restrict’ feature is a positive step in preventing bullying
October 25
18:40 2019

Instagram has created a new Restrict feature as part of an anti-bullying initiative that will help protect users by allowing them to control the publication of a bully’s hateful comments.

The new feature allows users to add certain accounts onto a “Restricted” list. On this restricted list, any comments the restricted person leaves on your post will only be seen by the user and the restricted person. In other words, they will be completely private. 

Restricting someone doesn’t mean that their comments will never be made public, however. The user will be notified when the restricted account makes a comment. Then, they have to approve the message for the person on the restricted list in order for it to be made public on their post.

Another important addition to the Restrict feature is that restricted users won’t get read receipts once the user has viewed their DMs. They also won’t be able to see when you’re active on Instagram, which means they won’t be waiting to attack as soon as you log on.

The new Restrict feature is a major move on Instagram’s part to stop cyber-bullying. In a survey conducted by dosomething.com, 42% of young people reported experiencing the most cyberbullying on Instagram. Instagram’s new feature is the kind of action we need to be seeing from other social media platforms.

Twitter has also recently released a feature where users can hide replies. It received a lot of criticism, but there have been positive results in regards to the effectiveness of the feature. The feature has been successful in getting 27% of users who had their tweets hidden to reconsider their future comments.

Although this is a good step towards stopping cyber-bullying, Twitter’s new feature still allows others to go in and manually view hidden replies. This kind of defeats the purpose as a whole and is just making it harder to prevent reading mean tweets.

This unique Restrict feature on Instagram essentially allows users to take control of their posts. Deleting or hiding messages doesn’t always stop bullies. They can just repost their comment, and often times, deleting a bully’s comment just makes them angrier which only makes them come back twice as mean. Blocking and unfollowing hasn’t always been the most helpful either.

Bullies can create new accounts in order to continue their torment. It was almost impossible to stop them, but now the Restrict feature allows users to see what their bullies are up to without aggravating the situation more. The person you restrict will not know that you’ve put them on your “Restricted Accounts” list, either.

The user will still see the hateful comments though, which still has detrimental effects on young minds. It’s by no means perfect, but I think that the privatization of those comments help diffuse the situation more. Often one hateful comment urges others to contribute their own hate as well. The Restrict feature also helps limit embarrassment. If nobody else sees the hateful comments, then the user won’t feel humiliated.

The Restrict feature is supposed to be accessible by the end of the year, but it will be tested in a few countries before the worldwide release. Until then, another new Instagram anti-bullying feature is already being tested. This feature uses artificial intelligence to detect when a person is trying to post a hateful comment. Instagram will then ask the user to confirm that they want to post the comment. I think this is great because sometimes people are writing out of anger and aren’t really thinking about their offensive comments.

This feature makes them stop and think twice about their negative comment. It basically acts the way our subconscious should be acting.

Instagram is setting a precedent for the kind of anti-bullying features we need to see implemented across all social media platforms. It’ll be interesting to see how effective it is in creating a friendly social environment and if any other social media sites will follow suit.

Featured Illustration: Kylie Phillips

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Vivian Berreondo

Vivian Berreondo

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