Instagram battles bullies with new features that let users choose who can tag and mention them in posts and delete negative comments in bulk

    Social networking site Instagram is attempting to stop bullying on its platform with new features that give people more control over who can tag them.

    The image sharing service, owned by Facebook, will allow users to choose who can tag and mention them in posts and delete negative comments in bulk.

    Instagram has been among the social media platforms criticised for failing to act quickly enough in removing abusive and other potentially dangerous content.

    Developers launched a Restrict tool last year that let users block people leaving nasty comments about them in response to their posts and this adds to that.

    The image sharing service, owned by Facebook, will allow users to choose who can tag and mention them in posts and delete negative comments in bulk 

    The company says the amount of suicide and self-injury content it took action against increased by 40 per cent last year.

    A feature will also enable users to pin a select number of positive comments to the top of the comments section of a post rather than just have them in order posted.

    Politicians and campaigners around the world have called for greater regulation to be introduced to enable better policing of social media and hold sites to account for not protecting their users.

    Instagram said in a statement: ‘We’ve seen that tags and mentions can be used to target or bully others, so we’re rolling out new controls that allow you to manage who can tag or mention you on Instagram. 

    ‘You can choose whether you want everyone, only people you follow or no-one to be able to tag or mention you in a comment, caption or Story.’

    In terms of managing unwanted interactions, they are going further than Restrict by adding a new feature to manage multiple unwanted interactions at once.

    ‘We know it can feel overwhelming to manage a rush of negative comments, so we’ve been testing the ability to delete comments in bulk, as well as block or restrict multiple accounts that post negative comments,’ a spokesperson said.

    ‘Early feedback has been encouraging, and we’ve found that it helps people, especially with larger followings, maintain a positive environment on their account.’

    The positive comment highlighting feature will work alongside being able to remove negative comments – by letting users pin nice responses near the top.

    ‘This feature gives you a way to set the tone for your account and engage with your community by pinning a select number of comments to the top of your comments thread,’ a spokesperson confirmed.

    The company has also made improvements to their monitoring software that allows them to rapidly remove child nudity and sexually exploitative content by matching it to similar violations that are already in the database.

    ‘Over the last six months, we’ve started to use technology more to prioritize content for our teams to review based on factors like virality and severity among others.

    ‘Going forward, we plan to leverage technology to also take action on content, including removing more posts automatically,’ a spokesperson said.

    ‘This will enable our content reviewers to focus their time on other types of content where more nuance and context are needed to make a decision.’

    The details were published in the latest Facebook Community Standards Enforcement Report which included details on different types of posts removed.

    In the report Facebook confirmed that it removed 50 million pieces of content from its site that contained misleading information about coronavirus.

    In terms of managing unwanted interactions, they are going further than Restrict by adding a new feature to manage multiple unwanted interactions at once. 

    The company said that since March 1 it had removed more than 2.5 million pieces of content linked to sale of medical items such as masks and Covid-19 test kits.

    The social network also revealed its Covid-19 Information Centre, which shows health and virus information from official sources, had now directed more than two billion people to resources from health authorities.

    A number of charities and online safety organisations have warned that with people – particularly children – spending more time online during lockdown, more stringent monitoring of online platforms is needed.

    In its report, Facebook said its detection technology was now finding around 90 per cent of the content the platform removes before it is reported to the site.

    Facebook’s latest report comes in the wake of further scrutiny of its moderation work.

    Last week, senior MPs accused companies including Facebook of failing to provide enough details on their efforts to fight disinformation during a recent appearance before a select committee.

    Julian Knight, chair of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee said the firms had been ‘deeply unhelpful’.

    ‘The lack of information and detail in the answers we were given showed a disregard for the important process of scrutiny,’ he said.

    ‘We’re again asking the social media companies for information that was so woefully lacking in order to prove to Parliament and their users that their organisations are open and accountable for their behaviour.’

    Instagram launches crackdown on fake accounts with new feature giving users more information

    Instagram has launched a crackdown on fake accounts, introducing a new feature showing users information about who is really behind a username.

    The Photo-sharing app’ more than 1 billion users will now be able to evaluate the authenticity of accounts, weeks after parent Facebook rolled out similar measures in a bid to weed out fake accounts on its social media platform.

    The ‘About This Account’ feature will allow users to see the advertisements an account is running, the country where the account is located, username changes in the past year as well as other details.

    To learn more about an account, go to their Profile, tap the … menu and then select ‘About This Account.’ 

    There, you will see the date the account joined Instagram, the country where the account is located, accounts with shared followers, any username changes in the last year and any ads the account is currently running. 

    Instagram also plans to significantly boost the number of verified accounts for public figures, celebrities, and global brands. 

    Along with the account username, applicants will need to provide full real names and a copy of legal or business identification.

    Instagram also said it will allow the use of third-party apps such as DUO Mobile and Google Authenticator for two-factor authentication to help users securely log in to their accounts.

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