How Instagram tackles the spread of hate and harassment

The social media stance as no-holds-barred for trolling, cyber-bullying, and even threats of rape and death is no longer the norm, following the introduction of new features aimed at combating the menace of miscreants.

While activists and educators are devising new approaches, for instance, to identify users and verify their contents, or make people stop and think before they make posts, it's actually technology itself that holds the long term solution.

To stem the abuse where possible, one social media is leading the charge: Instagram, the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app, started off with introduction of new anti-hate features: like the ability to disable comments and to remove followers from private accounts — with filter that lets users hide comments by keyword.

The company also launched an AI-powered system that will automatically detect offensive and harassing comments and ensure that people never get to see them. The new system is based on DeepText, a text classification engine meant to help machines interpret words as used in context to fight spam.

The system was trained by human input on how to identify spam, and the results, though not exactly made public on how much its implementation reduced spam versus previous methods, the team felt the results were encouraging.

Albeit, most efforts to curb online harassment and abuse are in their early stages, therefore may not have proved much successes, but certainly, it's not altogether ineffective.

Nonetheless, the onus falls on Facebook and Twitter, commanding the most active user-base means they'd have to play a much larger role for any tangible change to happen.
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