Instagram brings new features to curtail online bullying

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Facebook-owned social media platforms have been going after cyber bullies in recent times. And as part of these efforts, Instagram has now added new features that helps users manage negative comments. It does so by giving users the controls to restrict who can tag or mention you on the platform. 

The launch of these features coincides with Facebook's Community Standards Enforcement Report that details results of how the company has enforced its policies across the suite of apps. The latest report noted that 1.5 million pieces of content had been removed from Instagram during the first quarter of 2020. 

Managing negative comments

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To manage negative comments on Instagram accounts with a large following, typically those of a celebrity, Instagram has provided a feature that allows account holders to delete comments in bulk or restrict multiple accounts from posting negative comments. This takes care of an oft-felt need amongst celebrities during a surge of negative responses in case the post goes viral or during a coordinated attack from trolls. 

The feature could be the answer that celebrity accounts and corporate ones have been looking for in recent times. On its part, Instagram says that the early feedback from user testing was entertaining, which is why they have now opened it up to all users on mobile, the company has said in a blog post

Users on the iOS need to tap on a comment to bring up the dotted icon on the top right corner and choose "Manage Comments." Then choose up to 25 comments to delete at one stroke or tap "More Options" to block or restrict commenters' accounts in bulk. On Android, the user just needs to hold on a comment and then tap on the dotted icon.

Dealing with positive comments

The post also said that Instagram would soon be launching the Pinned Comments, a feature that aims to give users a means to amplify positive comments.  Once again, the feature is directed at the community to have more positive interactions with brands or celebrities and influencers. Once it goes live, users will be able to select and pin several comments to the top of their comments threat so that it's more visible. 

Instagram is also bringing a set of expanded controls that allow users to choose who can mention or tag you in the comments, captions or Stories. There would be a choice of selecting "Everyone," "Only People You Follow," or "No One," in the case of tags as well as mentions. This feature can be toggled on and off. 

Looks like Facebook has suddenly become aggressive in its approach to handle cyber bullying, given that competitors such as Twitter have released similar features some time ago.