Instagram’s New Feature Attempts to Combat Bullying
My morning routine is pretty standard: gym, breakfast, work. But before any of this comes the most important part of my morning — checking social media. I look at Twitter for the groundbreaking news I might have missed between midnight and 8am, scroll through Instagram to see if anyone was posting a picture in his or her sleep, and glance through Facebook to check-in on all of the people I haven’t talked to since high school.
I consider myself to be a social media addict. If I haven’t checked my Facebook in a few hours, I become antsy wondering if I’m missing out on another political argument on my Uncle’s post from two days. I’m also guilty of posting a selfie or two in my day…good hair days shouldn’t be wasted.
While all of this is in good fun, social media has also become a place where people go to attack and bully someone from behind the safety of a computer screen. Most recently, Saturday Night Live star, Leslie Jones, left Twitter for a short period of time after receiving too many racist and sexist comments directed towards her. Although this is a high profile incident, it is also happening daily in schools and social circles, with kids using these platforms to cyber-bully their peers.
To battle this, Instagram has introduced a new keyword moderation tool. This tool allows users to choose words and phrases that they deem inappropriate or offensive, and comments that contain these words will not be shown on their posts. There will be a default list of words that can be used, or a user can create their own unique set. The founders of Instagram, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, are hoping to make it a safer place for people to express themselves. Facebook and Twitter have received criticism with their lack of monitoring content, with users saying they only act when a high-profile figure speaks out.
However the case, the growing presence of social media in our lives means there will be growing cases of bullying and attacking. While it is important that we stand up to these individuals, it is good to know that the social platforms themselves are also taking initiative to make it a safer and more comfortable space.