Instagram launches Banter or Bullying anti-bullying campaign

David Murphy

Instagram has launched its ‘Banter or Bullying?’ campaign in partnership with anti-cyberbullying charity Cybersmile, to mark the start of Anti-Bullying Week, which began today.

Seeking to draw attention to the fine line between banter and bullying, the campaign is backed by comedian Mo Gilligan and social media stars Zoe Sugg (founder of Zoella) and Chessie King, who will all be talking about their own experiences on the platform throughout the week.
As part of the partnership activity, Cybersmile has produced a report for Instagram on attitudes towards online banter. The research, which surveyed 3,001 people aged 13-18, aims to encourage young people to talk about the issue and call out those who try to use banter as an excuse for bullying.

The findings reveal that more than half (51 per cent) of young people think banter can go too far and become bullying. Some two thirds (66 per cent) of young people say that they see a peer left upset by banter at least once a month and over a third (39 per cent) see this occur weekly. What’s more, almost half (47 per cent) have been personally upset or insulted by banter.

The campaign has been designed to demonstrate both organisations’ ongoing commitment to leading the fight against online bullying, as well as reiterating the importance of the social platform’s new Comment Warning and Restrict features.
Comment Warning notifies people when their comment may be considered offensive before it’s posted, giving them a chance to reflect and choose to not post something unkind or hurtful.

Restrict enables Instagram users to quietly protect their account, while still keeping an eye on the bully. When a user Restricts someone, comments on their posts from that person will only be visible to that person and they won’t be able to see when the user is active on Instagram or has read a direct message from them.

“Banter should never be used as an excuse for bullying,” said Instagram UK policy programmes manager, Kira Wong-O’Connor. “We’re working hard to give people greater power to tackle bullying behaviour on Instagram, whether that’s restricting a bully from seeing when you’re online, or giving you the option to post Stories to Close Friends only. This Anti-Bullying Week, we’d encourage parents and teens to explore how our anti-bullying tools can help keep their experience on Instagram positive.”