What you need to know

  • Instagram is testing new anti-bullying features.
  • One of the features uses AI and the other is in the user's control.
  • The features should be available to everyone soon.

Instagram on Monday unveiled important new features designed to combat online bullying. One of the new tools, which will go into testing soon, will allow users to shadow ban followers.

According to Instagram, the Restrict feature will essentially shadow ban "unwanted interactions."

"Once you Restrict someone, comments on your posts from that person will only be visible to that person," said Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram. "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."

Instagram said it's introducing the Restrict feature after talking to creators who said they're reluctant to block, unfollow, or report bullies for fear of escalating the situation.

Another feature being tested by Instagram will use AI to detect when harmful comments are being posted. When a user attempts to post a harmful comment, Instagram's AI will warn that the comment may be considered offensive.

"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," Mosseri said.

"We are committed to leading the industry in the fight against online bullying, and we are rethinking the whole experience of Instagram to meet that commitment," Mosseri added.