Instagram Is Now Using Machine Learning to Help Detect Bullying on Its Platform

The comment filter it debuted in May was extended to Live videos

Instagram's Kindness Camera Effect Instagram
Headshot of David Cohen

Instagram said it is now using machine learning technology to sniff out instances of bullying in photos and captions on its network and refer them to its community operations team for review.

The Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing network is also extending the bullying comment filter that it introduced in May to Instagram Live videos. It had already been in place for feed, profiles and Instagram’s Explore tab.

New head of Instagram Adam Mosseri addressed the addition of machine learning in a blog post: “This change will help us identify and remove significantly more bullying—and it’s a crucial next step, since many people who experience or observe bullying don’t report it. It will also help us protect our youngest community members, since teens experience higher rates of bullying online than others. This new technology has begun to roll out and will continue to in the coming weeks.”

Finally, Instagram marked National Bullying Prevention Month in the U.S., the upcoming Anti-Bullying Week in the U.K. and anti-bullying efforts around the world with its addition of a Kindness Camera Effect.

Mosseri said Instagram teamed up with Maddie Ziegler—a New York Times best-selling teen author, dancer and actor—on the Kindness Camera Effect.

Instagram users who follow Ziegler will automatically have access to the Camera Effect, and they can swipe to open the camera, tap the face icon at the bottom and select it.

Mosseri wrote, “In selfie mode, hearts will fill the screen—and you’ll be encouraged to tag a friend you want to support. Your friend will receive a notification that you mentioned them in your Story. They can share it to their own Story or use the camera effect to spread kindness to someone else. If you switch to the rear camera, you’ll see an overlay of kind comments in many languages.”

Those who do not follow Ziegler but spot the Camera Effect in use by someone else can tap “try it” to add it to their cameras. David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.