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Facebook AI

The Antitrust Angle in Instagram’s Anti-Bullying PR

Instagram’s newish boss Adam Mosseri talked to Time Magazine about all the steps the app is taking to combat the difficult problem of online bullying. Those include new features like the ability to restrict bullies’ accounts without them knowing and introducing a comment warning function that detects when something might be offensive.

The piece includes some time-tested lines that will be familiar if you’re accustomed to reading lots of stories about Facebook. The machine-learning technology to detect bullying is in its early days, these are really hard problems, and the company is willing to trade growth for the safety of its users. 

Here’s one that’s becoming more prominent these days: Instagram can better solve these hard problems if it is a part of Facebook. That’s becoming an important PR line for Facebook as calls multiply to break up the company. The story notes that Instagram uses a Facebook-owned technology called DeepText to determine when comments appear to be offensive.

Being cut off from Facebook’s AI expertise would be the “biggest downside” of splitting Instagram from Facebook, Mosseri said, according to the report. Expect to hear that line more and more. Of course, Instagram, which the story notes only has 1,200 employees, can probably afford its own AI tools and researchers.  

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