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Instagram and Maddie Ziegler just dropped a powerful new cam effect

October is National Bullying Prevention Month — and Instagram is celebrating with a major roll-out of new features intended to make the platform a more positive, kind and inclusive space. Yay.

Beginning today, check the app for new updates that'll continue the crusade to combat bullying, silence trolls and spread more feel-good vibes. Think: new comment controls, smarter software *and* an extremely cute new camera effect created in collaboration with Maddie Ziegler.

"There is no place for bullying on Instagram," explains Adam Mosseri, the new head of Instagram. Well, Insta, we are here for it — because, tbh, if we *never* had to read another comment from a troll ever again, it would still be too soon. But it's about more than simply filtering out the ugly stuff; it's about the message Instagram is sending to mean people everywhere: It's not cool, it's not OK and we're not going to give you a space to spew hate. *Double-taps*

Read on for the three ~major~ new updates coming to your Instagram immediately...

1. You can spread kindness with a new camera effect that Maddie Ziegler helped create

When Insta set out to create an adorable effect that would help blast more love and light into the digital universe, who better to team up with than author, dancer, actor and designer Maddie Ziegler? "Maddie has been speaking out against online bullying since she started experiencing it and is one of many people in our community that uses Instagram to promote positivity," says Mosseri of the effect, which Instagram developed to inspire the celebration of kindness.

"Whether you're shouting out your BFF or a person you admire, I hope this new Instagram feature is a force for positivity all over the world," shares Maddie. Here's *exactly* how it works...

If you follow Maddie, you will have the camera effect automatically. Swipe to open the camera, tap the face icon at the bottom and choose the new camera effect. In selfie mode, hearts will fill the screen — and you’ll be encouraged to tag a friend you want to support (screens 1 and 2). Your friend will receive a notification that you mentioned them in your story. They can share it to their own story or use the camera effect to spread kindness to someone else. If you switch to the rear camera, you’ll see an overlay of kind comments in many languages (screen 3). If you aren’t a follower of Maddie but you see someone else with the effect, tap “try it” to add it to your camera.

2. Those new bullying comment filters now apply to *live* videos 

You know the bullying comment filter that Instagram released a few months ago? (ICYMI, get more details here — but in a nutshell, it proactively detects and hides hateful comments from Instagram Feed, Explore and Profile.) That same filter is now being applied to all the comments on live videos, too — which will keep random trolls from spoiling all your spur-of-the-moment #GRWM vids (or anything else you go live for). Check out the comment controls flow chart below to see all the options; and remember, if you want the filter to do its work on your posts and videos, you have to manually turn it on.

3. Bullyish behavior can now get *automatically* detected in photos

OK guys, the future is officially here. "We are now using machine learning technology to proactively detect bullying in photos and their captions and send them to our team to review," says Mosseri. Translation? Technology that can scan an image, recognize bullying and flag it. Amazing. "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." (Yep, fact, we can confirm that.) This new technology has already begun to roll out and will continue to in the coming weeks — but in the meantime, if you see a hateful post, be sure to report it yourself.

If you want more details on these tools, go to Instagram's Wellbeing page. And if you want to talk to your parents about what your experience is like on social media — the good stuff and the bad stuff — tell them to visit this parents page for essential info that'll help them understand you better.

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by Kelsey Haywood Lucas | 10/9/2018