By: Olivia Smith
Instagram’s use of artificial intelligence (AI) has expanded to detect bullying in photos and captions. This updated programming launch has been strategically aligned with the National Bullying Prevention Month of October. Previously, the technology that was used filtered comments that analyzed words in complex phrases, contexts, and sentences.
Because Facebook, the parent company of Instagram, failed in maintaining user privacy earlier this year, the rollout could be controversial for them. The increased use of AI means an increase in data collected from people and the tendencies they display through their social media use. At the same time, this could be a shining moment for Facebook as it works to create a platform that is safe and inclusive.
The benefits of this AI use may outweigh the theoretical negatives in regard to Instagram’s profitability. For one, the AI used in conjunction with the thousands of human moderators who previously were reviewing content for hurtful words and pictures is going to be more efficient and therefore more effective in creating a safer online community. The collaboration and ensuing heightened safety makes Instagram more appealing to an even younger audience. It will also encourage current users to engage with the app more frequently. This creates an even larger opportunity for targeted advertisements, which make up Instagram’s income. More advertisers are likely to flock to the social media company with this widened consumer base.
Another benefit to this new feature is the timely release following the departure of co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. Their resignation, rumored to be due to tensions between Instagram and its parent company, is just another of an ongoing trend of lost Facebook executives since the privacy scandal. However, this will likely cloud the string of bad publicity Facebook has been getting, while newly appointed CEO, Adam Mosseri, focuses on putting his best foot forward. Investors have been concerned over the latest blow to Facebook, but Mosseri’s commitment to community building will hopefully lead to trust building between them and the company.
Finally, Instagram has partnered with Maddie Ziegler, a popular figure among preteens and teens, to launch their “Kindness” photo filter. The filter overlays your picture or video with hearts and kind words. This spreads smoothly among users starting with Ziegler. People who follow her have first access to the filter, and users can continue to spread it as they see people that they follow use the filter. The idea is to highlight the importance of kindness over social media and reflect the effect words can have, whether they are nice or not.
In order for Instagram to maintain its user base as well as grow their population, they must continue to make their platform as user friendly as possible. This is made possible by both the elimination of bullying via internet use and the promotion of kindness by revered influencers.