Tuesday, 18 Jun 2019
News Tech

Your mean-spirited Instagram photos may not survive this new anti-cyberbully AI


Instagram has conscripted artificial intelligence into the fight against cyberbullying. The social media site announced it is rolling out machine learning in the hopes of detecting mean-spirited photos and helping everyone on Instagram generally #BeBest, just like Melania Trump would want them to be.

“While the majority of photos shared on Instagram are positive and bring people joy, occasionally a photo is shared that is unkind or unwelcome,” Adam Mosseri, the new head of Instagram, said in a press release. “We are now using machine learning technology to proactively detect bullying in photos and their captions and send them to our Community Operations team to review.”

Why opt for artificial intelligence to detect bullying instead of relying on users to report violations? Instagram says it has found that many people who experience or observe bullying don’t report it. (Speaking from experience, a more common response is retreating to the bathroom to drown one’s sorrows in Biscoff cookies.) As such, this is an interesting application of machine learning–which has yet to be proven as an especially deft tool when it comes to, say, discerning sarcasm or figuring out when something is actually bullying as opposed to good-natured trolling by your big brother as required by Sibling Law.

It will be interesting to see how AI manages to navigate the complex, visual language world or whether every single user will have their comments filtered at some point. The new technology has begun to roll out and will continue to in the coming weeks.

The update to the platform’s technology comes a few months after Instagram unveiled a bullying comment filter on the site, which proactively detects and hides bullying comments. The Facebook-owned site is now expanding that to comments on live videos in the hopes of keeping everyone nice and friendly.


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