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Instagram Rolling Out 'Discreet' New Anti-Bullying Feature

Two new features have been launched on the social media platform Instagram to combat online bullying.

A 'Comment Warning' feature "encourages people to pause and reflect" before they post content that could be potentially hurtful.

When a user is posting a comment that contains possibly offensive words or phrases, a pop-up that reads 'Are you sure you want to post this?' will appear as the words are being uploaded.

An 'Undo' button also appears next to the comment, so users are able to quickly remove their post.

The 'Comment Warning' feature commenced testing on the platform in the last few days.

Instagram Comment Warning Feature
Comment Warning feature. Photo: Instagram.

The 'Restrict' feature allows users to hide comments or direct message from a particular account. When someone is 'Restricted' comments they post will only be visible to them, not to the person who has restricted them.

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If users receive a comment from someone they have 'restricted' the post will appear behind a sensitivity screen so they don't have to read it before they either approve or delete it.

'Restrict' also applies to direct messages.

Instagram Restricted Feature
The new 'Restrict' feature. Photo: Instagram.

Someone who has been restricted won't know if their direct messages have been read and their messages will appear in the 'Message Requests' section, not the normal inbox.

A real bonus is that users won't know if they have been restricted, so this can be done discreetly.

"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," Instagram said in a statement.

Instagram claims the 'Restrict' feature will avoid this awkwardness while preventing users from seeing hurtful content.

The 'Restrict' feature is still being tested by Instagram.

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au