Instagram to filter abusive comments with anti-bullying features

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Instagram will soon roll out features to help combat the growing issue of cyberbullying.

Instagram is the fastest growing social media app in the world next to Snapchat. But, an Instagram announcement on Tuesday has made it a leader among the tech world when it comes to innovations to help curb cyberbullying.

Instagram users, 500 million strong, have experienced a mean comment or two on their filtered photos.

“I mean nowadays people can say whatever they want with no consequence,” said Meredith Lynch.

This week, LPGA Tour golfer Paige Spiranac made an emotional speech about cyberbullying and not speaking about it enough.

According to a McAfee Security report, cyberbullying has sharply increased since 2010. Currently, 83 percent of teens have witnessed cyberbullying. Consider that when 92 percent of all teens in America have access to social media or go online every day.

A 10-year-old in downtown Harrisburg among a group of similar-aged friends said they used Instagram. Social media experts pointed out that cyberbullying is not just a high school or middle school problem.

Ten percent of all teens who have been cyberbullied said they attempted suicide.

Instagram announced the new features will be available in the “coming weeks” to help stop this issue. Users can filter comments by typing in custom trigger words or block comments altogether.

“I think that’s really great,” Lynch said. “I think it would encourage other people to keep what they have to say to themselves if it’s not nice to say.”

Instagram will also allow users with a private account to remove a follower without their knowledge. In order to spread positivity, a user can “like” a comment, much like Facebook.

Instagram will also allow people to anonymously report trolling or “self-injury” posts. The social media app already has banned nudity from its platform, unlike Twitter and Snapchat.

Along with these new features, tech experts have claimed Instagram’s anti-bullying features and policies are miles ahead of Facebook and Twitter.

“That can probably make a difference for a young teen,” Jessica Trimble said.

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