Instead of catching it after the fact, Instagram is now going to use artificial intelligence machine learning to notify its users if a caption contains possibly offensive language, so users have the chance to change their words before posting.
Instagram announced the new update to photo and video captions on Monday, December 16. The A.I. would be able to learn and recognize different forms of bullying and verbally offensive material. Users will then have the opportunity to edit their caption before its posted.
The feature is available in “select countries” starting today, with plans to expand globally. Instagram said the goal of the feature is to stop the spread of negativity before it happens on the platform.
“In addition to limiting the reach of bullying, this warning helps educate people on what we don’t allow on Instagram, and when an account may be at risk of breaking our rules,” the announcement about the new feature reads.
The social network released a similar feature back in July that detects potentially nasty comments and asks the user if they still want to post it. Instagram said in its post on Monday that the results of that feature have been positive.
While online bullying can occur on almost any platform or website out there, Instagram has proven to be a particular problem when it comes to bullying among young people. A study from 2017 found that 17% of teens are bullied online and that a majority of the time, the cyberbullying happens on Instagram.
Instagram also released a feature called Restrict in October that allows users to protect their account from unwanted interactions from online bullies. Comments from a person you “restrict” are only visible to them.
Social media, and Instagram especially, can bring about a competitive nature among its users trying to depict the perfect likable life. To ease that pressure on its users, especially for young people, Instagram is in the process of testing hiding the like counts on a photo. Only a small number of users have been able to see the feature so far, but Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri has said that he hopes to encourage self-expression and connection instead of competition.