Yui Mok/PA WireBy New Scientist Staff and Press Association Instagram will ask users to think again if they are about to post something that could be considered offensive. The social media site has started rolling out the new feature and early tests have found it can encourage some people to undo their comment and share something less hurtful, says Adam Mosseri, Instagram’s CEO. An example of how the feature works would be where a person types “you are so ugly and stupid”, and is then interrupted with a notice saying: “Are you sure you want to post this? Learn more”. Advertisement If the user clicks “learn more”, a notice tells them: “We are asking people to rethink comments that seem similar to others that have been reported.” Read more: Almost everything we know about social media and health could be wrong “This intervention gives people a chance to reflect and undo their comment and prevents the recipient from receiving the harmful comment notification,” says Mosseri. He says online bullying was “a complex issue” and that Instagram has for years used artificial intelligence to detect bullying and other types of harmful content. The new feature will ask users to reconsider posting something offensiveInstagram The anti-bullying initiative follows some high-profile cases, such as the death of British teenager Molly Russell. After Russell, aged 14, took her own life in November 2017, her father Ian said he believed Instagram was partly responsible for her death. Speaking at the NSPCC’s How Safe Are Our Children? conference in June, he said: “It is important to acknowledge that they (tech firms) do a lot of good, but sadly their platforms are being used by people to do harm and they have not done enough to prevent that. Unless change happens, their platforms will become toxic.” Read more: Facebook and Instagram may have to remove like buttons for UK children Instagram is also due to launch another tool, called Restrict, designed to help users filter abusive comments without needing to block others. The tool will mean that restricted people will not be able to see when a user is active on on Instagram or when direct messages have been read. “We’ve heard from young people in our community that they’re reluctant to block, unfollow, or report their bully because it could escalate the situation, especially if they interact with their bully in real life,” says Mosseri. More on these topics: social media
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