Mother of Nicole Fox welcomes Instagram anti-bullying features

Jackie Fox, whose daughter Nicole died by suicide in January 2018. Picture: Paul Dillon

Jackie Fox, the mother of Nicole, has welcomed a move by Instagram to introduce new anti-bullying features.

The social media site has started rolling out a new feature that notifies people before they post that their comment may be considered offensive.

Announcing the changes, the company's chief executive Adam Mosseri said: "We can do more to prevent bullying from happening on Instagram, and we can do more to empower the targets of bullying to stand up for themselves."

"This intervention gives people a chance to reflect and undo their comment and prevents the recipient from receiving the harmful comment notification," he added.

Early tests have found it proved successful in encouraging some people to undo their comment and share something less hurtful, he said.

An example of how the feature works would be where a person types "you are so ugly and stupid", and is then interrupted with a notice saying: "Are you sure you want to post this? Learn more".

If the user clicks "learn more", a notice tells them: "We are asking people to rethink comments that seem similar to others that have been reported."

Jackie's daughter Nicole died by suicide last year after being bullied online, and she says the move by Instagram is a positive one.

"It's a start. People need to stop and think before they type," said Ms Fox.

"A lot of them, they don't realise the damage they're doing and a lot of them do realise the damage they are doing.

"I think [the new Instagram feature] is brilliant. I was delighted when I saw it."

Ms Fox said she hopes other social media sites will follow up with similar anti-bullying features.

She has been campaigning for what is being called 'Coco's Law' which would make cyber-bullying a criminal offence.

The law is named after her daughter and speaking earlier this year, she said it is vitally needed.

"It's so vital because when Nicole was going through all torment and torture online, like so many others at the moment, the guards came to me and said their hands were tied.

"There was nothing they could do about it because there was no law against cyberbullying."

- additional reporting by Press Association

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