Facebook recently announced some notable updates about an app it owns — Instagram — and an app it recently bought — Giphy.
Instagram Attempts to Curb Bullying
A few weeks ago, we reported that Twitter was testing a feature that prompted users to reconsider a tweet reply if it contained “offensive or hurtful language.” And now, it appears that Instagram is dipping its toe into anti-bullying work, too.
Engadget recently reported that Instagram overhauled its anti-bullying measures.
On May 12th, Instagram published the fifth edition of its Community Standards Enforcement report — a report that tracks Instagram and Facebook’s safety endeavors — and it included a handful of new features.
Instagram’s new safety-focused features include:
1. Managing unwanted interactions: This feature allows a user to manage (delete or block) multiple comments and users, all at once.
Instagram users are most likely excited for this addition as negative comments and trolling-users have plagued the app’s usability for a long while.
“The move will address a longstanding issue for many users who say that previous comment controls were too cumbersome to be effective as an anti-bullying tool,” Engadget reported. “This was especially true for higher profile users, or anyone who has had their comments ‘swarmed’ as a form of targeted harassment, since removing hundreds or thousands of comments one-by-one could take hours.”
2. Highlighting positive comments: This soon-to-be-released feature is called “Pinned Comments” and will allow people to “set the tone for their account” while also engaging “with their community by pinning a select number of comments to the top of their comments thread.”
3. Choosing who can tag and mention you: This new control will allow a user to manage who else can tag or mention them. “You can choose whether you want everyone, only people you follow or no one to be able to tag or mention you in a comment, caption or Story,” Engadget explained.
Instagram details how to use its “management” feature and also details when the other features will become available here.
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Facebook Buys Giphy
Facebook now owns the site you frequent when you want to express your frustration in GIF form.
According to Engadget, Facebook bought Giphy, the GIF-sharing service. Facebook “plans to integrate Giphy’s library more deeply into Instagram (where GIFs are especially prevalent in Stories) and other Facebook services.” The price tag for the purchase was $400 million.
Engadget reported that so far, Facebook does not plan on “walling off its service” for its “exclusive use.”
“You’ll still be able to upload and remix your own GIFs. Developers and Giphy’s API partners will also still have access to the massive GIF library, as well as Giphy’s stickers and emoji,” Engadget added. “Those partners include the likes of Twitter, Slack, Skype, TikTok, Tinder and Samsung.”
What This Means for You
What does all this mean for you? In general, not a lot.
Facebook, the social site that seems to have its virtual hands in everything, has expanded its portfolio to include Giphy, which you can still use as you have been. The company also is attempting to curb cyberbullying.
Although we remain skeptical of Facebook and its entities, we admit that Instagram’s new security features aren’t bad. If you use Instagram, its new safety features could help you better manage negative comments, while highlighting fans’ positive comments. However, be aware that this is Facebook we’re dealing with, so, regularly keep your eyes on your privacy settings.
Abbie Stutzer is a queer, non-binary writer living in Kansas City, MO. You can find them doing witchy stuff at home with their numerous pets or at the local animal shelter saving lives. Contact Stutzer via firstname.lastname@example.org.