Instagram expands its anti-bullying tools with its new Feed Caption Warning feature

Instagram has expanded its anti-bullying features by implementing a ‘Comment Warning’ feature onto image captions.

Comment Warning was released in July this year, using AI to detect potentially offensive comments before they are posted and asking the user to reconsider publishing one.

Feed Caption Warning works largely in the same way, using AI technology to detect potentially offensive captions on image and video uploads, and delivering a notification warning that similar captions have previously been reported for bullying.

Instagram’s new Feed Caption Warning works similarly to July’s Comment Warning

Instagram stated that the initial results from the introduction of Comment Warning have been “promising” and that “these types of nudges can encourage people to reconsider their words when given a chance.”

The warning features have also been designed to educate Instagram users on the content that is not permitted on the platform and when an account is at risk of breaking community rules.

Alongside the release of Comment Warning earlier this year, was the ‘Restrict’ feature, which enables users to stop receiving comments from people without notifying them like the Block function does.

Instagram provided statements from users who have sampled the new feature.

Creator, Rose Ehrhardt, said: “I use Instagram as a creative outlet and to discover new interests. But, since presenting as an LGBTQ person, I’ve seen that some people post harmful or hurtful captions targeting the community, as well as other marginalized groups. Feed Post Caption Warning seems like a great opportunity to give people that little nudge to reconsider their words before posting so that Instagram can be a safe space for everyone.”

Writer, Sam Falb, added: “For me, Instagram is a place where I can engage with friends and share about politics, design and other interests. I also appreciate that it supports people of different backgrounds. I think Feed Post Caption Warning could be really powerful because it gives people a certain level of responsibility — in which they’re given an opportunity to consider whether they really want to post something that could be considered hurtful or offensive.”

The trial will start today in select countries including Australia, and will expand globally over the coming months.

At the start of December, Instagram announced on its media blog that it was starting to ask for users’ birthdays when they set up an account, in an effort to prevent people under the age of 13 from joining the platform. The move will enable Instagram to “build age appropriate and safer experiences” for younger users, educating them about account controls and recommending privacy settings.

This also ensures that advertising content can be better targeted or restricted to users based on their age.

Over the last 12 months Instagram has been looking to reposition its brand with a focus on the authenticity of its users and content.

In July, Instagram removed the publicly-visible ‘likes’ number from users’ posts in Australia, making it the second country in the world to test the initiative. The decision to remove likes was made to relieve the competitive pressure users had been feeling over how many likes their posts were receiving.

Instagram’s first integrated marketing campaign in Australia reinforced this position, presenting the ‘like’ heart as a symbol for pursuing your interests and passions on the platform.

Two weeks ago, the platform launched the #TheWholeMe campaign in partnership with the Butterfly Foundation, to counter the pressure to appear ‘perfect’ online and the tendency for teenagers and young adults to compare themselves to image of other users.

In September, Instagram introduced policies to remove or restrict posts that promoted weight loss remedies and cosmetic proceedures. It followed up the policy a month later with a ban on all filters that made users look like they had received cosmetic surgery.


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