In Brief

How Instagram is using AI to tackle bullying

Automated systems will flag images and captions that show signs of hurtful content

Instagram is turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to spot signs of bullying in photos and comments. 

Due to roll out across the social network within the coming weeks, the algorithm will automatically scan images and captions for content that violates the company’s community guidelines, according to the Daily Mail

For instance, the AI can “detect if a photo is criticising a person’s appearance or character”, the newspaper says, or if an image “is making a threat to someone’s wellbeing”.

Once an image is flagged by the algorithm, it is then sent to Instagram’s Community Operations team to be evaluated by a moderator. 

The Verge believes this human reviewer could be the key to the AI’s success as automated systems often have difficulty understanding “context and nuance”.

“Automation without oversight is a recipe for disaster,” the site says. 

It’s hoped the algorithm will help protect Instagram’s younger users, as they experience the “highest rates of bullying online”, Digital Trends reports. 

Adam Mosseri, the company’s new chief executive, said: “Online bullying is complex, and we know we have more work to do to further limit bullying and spread kindness on Instagram.

“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,” he said.

“This change will help us identify and remove significantly more bullying - and it’s a crucial next step since many people who experience or observe bullying don’t report it.”

Mosseri has been at the helm of the company for less than two weeks, says tech news site geek.com

He took over the position of Instagram’s chief executive after company co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger resigned from the social network last month. 

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