Kicking Off National Bullying Prevention Month With New Anti-Bullying Features

Posted on October 6, 2020

As we kick off National Bullying Prevention Month, we’re announcing two new features to reduce negative interactions, including bullying and harassment, in comments. Bullying is a challenge many face, especially young people who are already dealing with additional pressures brought on by COVID-19. While the world has certainly changed this year, our commitment to leading the industry in the fight against online bullying remains a priority.

Additional ways we’re preventing bullying in comments

In the last few days, we started testing a new feature that automatically hides comments similar to others that have been reported. We know from research that, while people don’t want to be exposed to negative comments, they want more transparency into the types of comments that are hidden. You can tap “View Hidden Comments” to see the comments. Comments that violate our Community Guidelines will continue to be automatically removed.

An example of unhiding comments in the comment section.

Expanding comment warning

We’re also expanding comment warning to include an additional warning when people repeatedly attempt to post potentially offensive comments. Since launching comment warning, we saw that reminding people of the consequences of bullying on Instagram and providing real-time feedback as they are writing the comment is the most effective way to shift behavior. These new warnings let people take a moment to step back and reflect on their words and lay out the potential consequences should they proceed. We just started testing this feature in select languages.

An example of comment guidelines warning.

Our progress, one year later

Since we first announced our commitment, we rolled out warnings in comments and captions to ensure people reconsider their words before posting something that is potentially offensive. In less than a year since launching globally, we’ve seen a meaningful decrease in negative interactions in both comments and captions. We’ve also given people easier ways to manage who can tag or mention them, and are in the process of rolling out similar controls for messages in Instagram Direct.

More than 35 million Instagram accounts are using or have used Restrict since it launched last October, ensuring they can safely control their Instagram experience; a majority of the negative interactions they were receiving from a bully are now hidden. In the last few months we rolled out the ability to delete comments in bulk and block or restrict multiple accounts and have seen over 3.5 million accounts use these controls to reduce negative experiences. And we’ve made it easy to highlight positive interactions with Pinned Comments, as our research shows that elevating positive content is an effective way to set positive norms on your account.