Instagram Leverages Machine Learning To Detect Bullying In Photos And Videos

Instagram wants to eliminate bullying on its platform and has announced new tools to do so. The service already has tools that allow people to report bullying, and when reported, the content is removed from the network; the new tool that Instagram is rolling out brings a way to detect bullying in photos. Instagram's new head, Adam Mosseri, says that most of the photos on the network are positive and meant to bring people joy, but on occasion, a photo is shared that is unkind or unwelcome.

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Instagram is using machine learning technology to detect bullying in photos and captions on photos proactively, and then send the content to the Community Operations team to review. Mosseri says that this change will help Instagram to identify and remove significantly more bullying because many who experience or see bullying on the network don’t report it. The new tool will also help to protect teens using the network since they are the most likely target of bullying online.

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The machine learning tech is rolling out now and will continue to deploy in the coming weeks. Instagram is also rolling out a bullying comment filter for live videos. That filter goes along with the bullying comment filter that the network rolled out to proactively detect and hide bullying comments from Feed, Explore, and Profile a few months ago. The live video filter is available for all live videos now.

Instagram is also rolling out a new Kindness Camera Effect filter intended to "celebrate and inspire kindness on Instagram." That filter is being rolled out with the cooperation of best-selling teen author, dancer, and actor Maddie Ziegler; users who follow her on Instagram will automatically have the special filter. It adds hearts to the image taken in selfie mode and when the rear camera is used an overlay of kind comments in many languages is placed on the image. Anyone who wants the filter, but doesn’t follow Ziegler, can get it by tapping the "try it" button on any image with the effect to add it to their camera. As Instagram is rolling out new tools to fight bullying online, it is also working to encourage users to collaborate with a college community test feature introduced in August to help bring students on the same campus together.