As a company, Instagram has always stood on a strong foundation of unwavering values and principles. Dedicated to creating a safe, fun and supportive community, the company’s new cyberbullying detection technology has brought awareness to the fight to stop bullying. 

Over the last year, in particular, Instagram has released several new features and updates designed to protect the safety of its users, as well as improve the overall user experience.

Among those updates were third-party authentication, additional “About This Account” information for large, influential accounts, a “Get Support” feature for drug abuse-related hashtag use, and a Parent’s Guide to Instagram to help parents ensure the app stays a positive experience for their children. (We wrote an entire article about these updates if you want to learn more.)

Instagram’s newest update has brought awareness to a very common and damaging issue facing young adults and teens: Cyberbullying.

Cracking down on Cyberbullying

Instagram has joined the fight against cyberbullying with the implementation of a new machine learning technology.

A few months ago, Instagram introduced a bullying comment filter to detect and hide bullying comments from the Feed, Explore and Profile sections of the app.

On October 9, 2018, Instagram integrated this the anti-bullying filter to detect harmful comments on live videos as well as photos. In a statement by recently appointed Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri,

“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. It will also help us protect our youngest community members since teens experience higher rates of bullying online than others.”

Here’s how to access and turn on the bullying comment filter for live videos:

  1. Go to your Instagram profile page and click the top right button shown below:
    Instagram menu

    Click the “Menu” Tab

  2. Click the gear icon (settings) at the bottom:
    Instagram Update

    Click “Settings”

  3.  Scroll down until you see “Comment Controls” under Privacy and Security:
    Instagram Cyberbullying

    Comment Controls

  4. You will see the following page with the following options:
    Comment Controls

    Comment Controls- Source: Instagram

From here you can choose exactly which, and how comments and abusive content is filtered out of your account.

Cyberbullying Statistics

In honor of October being National Bullying Prevention Month, we have compiled a list of recent Cyberbullying statistics to promote awareness.

While some of these statistics may seem alarming, it’s important to understand the prevalence of this damaging behavior so that we can take proactive steps to protect ourselves and our children from bullies.

The Annual Bullying Survey

Published annually in collaboration with schools and colleges, the Annual Bullying Survey is the largest benchmark of bullying in the United Kingdom.

Results from the newest Annual Bullying Survey include data collected from over 10,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 20. Here are some findings regarding general bullying in the UK:


  • One in two people surveyed experienced bullying, while one in ten reported being bullied within the last week.
  • 36% of those who have been bullied said it made them feel depressed.
  • One in four people who were bullied turned to self-harm as a coping mechanism.
  • Young people who have a learning or physical disability or who identify as LGBT+ are some of the most likely to be bullied.
  • 37% of people bullied developed social anxiety
  • 36% developed depression
  • 24% had suicidal thoughts

Statistics on Cyberbullying

It’s no secret that bullying is, and has been a very prevalent problem for young people for years. Recently, however, the rapid growth of social media and internet use has contributed to the very large and detrimental problem of cyberbullying.

The Annual Bullying Study reported the following cyberbullying statistics after surveying participants about their experiences:


  • 39% had a nasty comment posted on their profile
  • 34% had a nasty comment posted on their photo
  • 68% had been sent a nasty private message
  • 18% had their profile wrongfully reported
  • 23% experienced bullying in an online game
  • 24% had their private information shared
  • 18% had someone impersonate them online
  • 41% had rumors about them posted online
  • 27% had photos/videos of them posted online that they didn’t like

When asked what impact cyberbullying had on them, these were the results:

  • 41% developed social anxiety
  • 37% developed depression
  • 26% had suicidal thoughts
  • 26% deleted their social media profile
  • 25% self-harmed
  • 20% skipped class
  • 14% developed an eating disorder
  • 9% abused drugs and/or alcohol

Cyberbullying on Social Media

According to the study, the percentage of young people who have been cyberbullied experienced it more on Instagram than any other social media platform at 42%.

What’s more, an overwhelming 71% said social networks don’t do enough to prevent cyberbullying. 

  • 69% of all participants reported having done something abusive towards another person online.

I think we can all agree, 69% is far too many.

Social Media Addiction

A record amount of people use social media today. In fact, Instagram alone has reached 1 billion users worldwide.

As more people gravitate toward using social media platforms such as Instagram, more and more users are reporting feeling addicted to the app.

61% of participants in the Annual Bullying Survey said they couldn’t go more than 1 day without checking their social media accounts. 

For young people who consider social media to be an integral part of their everyday lives, cyberbullying is just as great a risk and concern as bullying at school, between friends, or otherwise.

Some might even argue it’s worse due to the fact that abusive comments can easily be spread to a very large number of people in seconds.

Cyberbullying Prevention

A large challenge when it comes to fighting cyberbullying has to do with the fact that most people never report it. 

It’s hard to help your children, friends or loved ones when you don’t know they need protection in the first place. Here are some tips for preventing cyberbullying:


  • Talk to your children about it. Young social media users or teens may not know what cyberbullying looks like. Talk about what it is, why it’s harmful and what to do if you experience it.
  • Teach your children, friends and loved ones about the risks and best practices for safeguarding their personal information, such as passwords, logins, and more.
  • Discuss what kind of content is appropriate or inappropriate to post. Create expectations for best online conduct.
  • This may go without saying, but it’s important to emphasize the fact that anything posted on social media or the internet is likely to be there forever. Don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want to be shared with everyone you know.
  • Pay attention. If you see any signs of depression, social media addiction, changes in behavior or irritability, it could be an indication of cyberbullying.

Instagram’s fight against Cyberbullying

In addition to Instagram’s new machine learning anti-bullying technology, the company launched a new camera effect to spread positivity during National Bullying Prevention Month. 

Best selling teen author, dancer and actor Maddie Ziegler recently partnered with Instagram to launch the “Kindness Camera Effect.”

In selfie mode, the kindness effect will fill the screen with hearts and encourage you to tag a friend you want to support.

Your friend will receive a notification that you mentioned them in your story, which they can then share on their own story as well. The hope is that Instagram users all over the world will be inspired to spread kindness and positivity to others by tagging them using the Kindness Camera Effect.

Note: If you follow Maddie Ziegler, you will have the camera effect automatically. Here’s what it looks like:

Stop Bullying

Source: @maddieziegler (Instagram)

To quote Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri, “There is no place for bullying on Instagram.”

What to do next:

Riotly Social Media can help you grow your Instagram account organically while monitoring your account for any harmful or inappropriate behavior. Contact our team to learn how or check out our monthly plans for more information.

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