Instagram’s New Tools

Kuala Lumpur, Nov 13: Over the last two years, in tandem with the past two iterations of its #RealTalk Malaysia mental health campaign, Instagram has set a strong foundation in supporting the community on safety and mental wellbeing.
Instagram recently announced the roll out of additional safety and wellbeing features to limit unwanted interactions and give people more control over their experience on the platform.
“We know there are discussions about whether social media is good or bad and that’s why we have done considerable work on well-being for more than 10 years to focus on the positive impact that our products can have on people, and to support their safety and wellbeing,” Instagram APAC Head of Public Policy Philip Chua said.
“A study from Harvard described the ‘see-saw’ of positive and negative experiences that US teens have on social media.
“Many find it helpful one day, and problematic the next.
“According to research by Pew Internet on teens in the US, 81 per cent of teens said that social media makes them feel more connected to their friends, while 26 per cent reported social media makes them feel worse about their lives.”
Instagram is making new accounts private by default for people under 16, blocking potentially suspicious adults from interacting with teens on its platform, and restricting how advertisers can target young people.
Private accounts let people control who sees or responds to their content.
If users have a private account, people have to follow them to see their posts, stories and reels.
People also can’t comment on users’ content in those places, and they won’t see the user’s content recommended in places like explore or hashtags.

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Other new features include:
● Offering people the option to remove like counts: This option is available to everyone on Instagram and on Facebook, and one can enable them on their own posts, so others can’t see how many likes the posts get.
● Restrict: The Restrict setting allows other users to comment on the posts, but the comment can’t be viewed by anyone else but the account holder.
● Multi-Block: This feature allows users the option to both block their account and preemptively block new accounts that the person may create. This will
make it harder for the person that has already blocked from contacting the user again through a new account.
● Limits: Users can hide comments and DMs from accounts that aren’t following them and/or accounts which followed them recently. This means that someone experiencing an episode of mass/intense harassment can protect themselves in just a few taps while continuing to interact with their long-standing community.
● Hidden words: A feature to filter abusive messages:. This tool focuses on DM requests, because this is where people usually receive abusive messages. With this tool, Instagram will automatically filter DM requests which contain offensive words, phrases and emojis, so users never have to see them.
● Sensitive Content Controls: ‘Sensitive content’ posts don’t necessarily break Instagram’s Community Guidelines, but could be potentially upsetting to someone.
● Nudges: people will be encouraged to consume where the system will nudge the users to look at other content, if they have been dwelling too long when it sees the person has been dwelling on certain types of content. This new Instagram feature hopes to point people toward content that inspires and uplifts them.

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As Instagram continues to listen and take feedback on how to do more for the community, #RealTalk 3.0 will be focusing on expanded efforts around:

○ Supporting and working with mental health partners who are experts in various specialties of mental health to drive greater collective impact and reach.
○ Social connection and inclusion amongst Malaysians that are integral in building emotional resilience and to help destigmatise mental health
○ To help destigmatise mental health and build emotional resilience, it is important to increase awareness and education around, and invest in the new safety and wellbeing features that Instagram introduced recently.

RealTalk3.0 Panel Session. Image supplied.
RealTalk3.0 Panel Session. Image supplied.

At a recent press launch featured a panel discussion moderated by Philip, themed “Building and managing positive connections and experience on social media.”
Philip was joined by Anita Abu Bakar, founder and president of Mental Health Illness Awareness and Support Association (MIASA) and #RealTalk3.0 creators and athletes, Janna Nick (Malaysian actress, host), Datuk Pandelela Rinong (Malaysian national diver and Olympian medalist) and Hafiz Slurpee Crank (Malaysian content creator) for this campaign.
The creators and athletes shared their personal experiences on their Instagram and help to raise awareness on the importance of nurturing, guiding and taking care of personal mental well-being.
They will also share their tips on managing online experiences with the tools and resources available on Instagram.
“Mental health challenges are a spectrum and can be complex.
“Anxiety and Depression are very prevalent in teens and young adults hence more must be done for prevention and early intervention.
“We are all here to provide access to the tools that are available and break the barrier to access both the services and information.
“MIASA appreciates the solidarity by both Government and private institutions like Meta, in supporting mental health advocacy works in any way they can to create awareness and destigmatise mental health,” Anita said.
“MIASA has been Instagram campaign partner since the launch of the first #RealTalk in November 2020.
“It is important to know that information, support, tools and resources are easily accessible these days.
“Personally for me, the prolonged MCO, being cooped up at Bukit Jalil training centre to train for the Olympics, has its own set of challenges, especially being away from family and friends for over a period of time,” she concluded.
Meanwhile Datuk Pandelela said: “I am blessed to have had the support I needed to get by and would encourage those facing challenges to seek help.”
“As someone who has undergone psychiatric treatment and is taking medication prescribed by a doctor, I openly share my story so that people are more aware that help is available.
“I hope someday, mental health and mental illness will be treated the same way as physical health.
“The challenges we have is part of our experience to grow as a human being, and that is ok.
Actress Janna Nick said: “I hope my story will help to inspire people who are struggling.”
Malaysian influencer Hafiz Slurpee Crank said: “Now, more than ever, we need to reach out to people, especially young adults to share their stories of living with mental illness to increase their well-being and feel less stigmatised.”
“Sharing the complexities of our story will hopefully provide hope, encouragement and make care more accessible to every family,” he added.
As part of the campaign, Hafiz will also be the voice for mental health, advocating to the grassroots communities through Universiti Malaya Community Engagement Centre, UMCares, from University Malaya next month.
Hafiz will share a message of support and hope to all youth and young adults in a forum alongside respectable mental health experts from the university.
The #RealTalk3.0 is part of the #SamaSamaSupport mental health campaign, an initiative by Meta that was launched this month.
This campaign aims to spark conversations, help to normalise discussions around mental health and well-being, and provide equitable access to basic mental health tools and resources under the Meta integrated family of apps campaign.

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