Instagram will now challenge abusive comments before they're even posted

Instagram will now challenge abusive comments before they're even posted

Instagram has started to roll out new features that aim to reduce bullying and harassment on the platform.

The first of the two features uses AI to pick up on comments that could be considered offensive or unwanted. Before a user posts, it will notify them that what they've typed may be considered harmful and gives them the opportunity to correct or delete the comment.

Instagram hopes that its "are you sure you want to post this?" intervention will encourage commenters to think about what they're posting more often and consider how the recipient on the other end may feel.

“Online bullying is a complex issue. For years now, we have used artificial intelligence to detect bullying and other types of harmful content in comments, photos and videos," wrote head of Instagram Adam Mosseri in a recent blog post.

"As our community grows, so does our investment in technology. This is especially crucial for teens since they are less likely to report online bullying even when they are the ones who experience it the most.”

The app asks whether a user still wants to post. Image: Instagram blog

Protecting users

Instagram is also set to trial another feature that lets users hide or 'mute' comments from a specific account if they feel like someone is being abusive.

The 'restrict' tool will let a user hide interactions from themselves and other followers. Restricted accounts also won't be able to see when a user is online or if they've read a direct message. Those users will not be notified of the restriction so users can implement it quietly. 

"It’s our responsibility to create a safe environment on Instagram," Mosseri added.

"This has been an important priority for us for some time, and we are continuing to invest in better understanding and tackling this problem. I look forward to sharing more updates soon."

Anti-bullying steps

Last month, Instagram rolled out a safety guide aimed at LGBTQ+ teens. The aim of the guide was to promote online wellbeing and ensure that young users feel safe on Instagram.

The company also recently teamed up with the Samaritans for an anti-bullying initiative, and a long-term plan to abolish 'likes' on the platform is also another step towards encouraging a more positive user experience.

“We want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they’re getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time connecting with the people that they care about,” Mosseri said during Facebook's F8 conference back in May.


Danielle Partis is editor of and former editor of She was named Journalist of the Year at the MCV Women in Games Awards 2019, as well as in the MCV 30 under 30 2020. Prior to Steel Media, she wrote about music and games at Team Rock.