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Instagram CEO mentions Manchester teen’s suicide on The Today Show

“It’s a horrible story. My heart goes out to the family,” Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri stated Wednesday morning on The Today Show.

His statement referenced the tragic death of a Manchester teenager, Channing Smith. The 16-year-old Coffee County High School student died by suicide last Monday. His family and friends say he was bullied and outed on social media by classmates. It’s just one of the examples of online bullying that’s gotten Mosseri’s attention since leaving Facebook to take the reigns at Instagram.

” What we try and do … is prevent bullying from happening on Instagram and Facebook whenever possible,” he told NBC’s Stephanie Gosk.

Instagram’s making changes that might prevent future bullying. Today they launched a new anti-bullying feature called restrict that allows users to approve or decline comments before they’re posted to your account without blocking the person and without them every knowing. It’s an idea inspired by the teenagers the social media platform spoke to while studying the bullying issue. Mosseri told The Today Show that these teens reported that blocking the user can actually escalate the situation. Another idea the company is considering is hiding the like button. Page owners could still the number of likes each photo receives but that number would be hidden from the public.

“The big idea is to try and make Instagram feel less pressurized, to make it less of a competition,” Mosseri said. “So, you can spend a little bit less time worrying about how many likes you have and a little bit more time connecting with people or things that inspire you.”

To watch the complete Today Show segment, click here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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