Instagram rolls out new feature to fight substance abuse

San Francisco: Facebook-owned Instagram is coming up with a new featureprompt” which would pop-up if users try to find something (substances-Pictures, comments, videos or selling efforts) which is abuse related recovery and treatment services or looking to buy drugs illegally on the platform using certain hashtags such as “opioid”, the media has reported.

What is Opioid? New Machine Learning detects marketing, the sale of opioids on Twitter and Instagram

Instagram rolls out new feature to fight substance abuse

Data Scientists have developed an advanced machine learning technology which mines microblogging website and blogs on Twitter to identify entities illegally selling prescription opioids online.

“Our study demonstrates the utility of a technology to aid in these efforts that search social media for behavior that poses a public threat, such as the illegal sale of controlled substances,” said Mackey, first author of the research published in the American Journal of Public Health.

According to the study and researches at University of California San Diego in the US reported about 619,937 tweets containing the keywords codeine, Percocet, fentanyl, Vicodin, Oxycontin, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. Yes, these are drugs.

They also recorded 1,778 posts that were marketing the sale of controlled substances, 90 percent included redirect hyperlinks to online sites for sales.

“An unhealthy use of prescription and non-prescription opioid drugs continues to rise in the US. Public policy and law enforcement efforts are trying to address this crisis, but closer attention to the potentially negative influence of digital technologies is needed,” said Tim K Mackey, associate professor at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

It is a three-step process that involves cloud-based computing to collect large volumes of tweets filtered by keywords, machine learning to differentiate tweets related to the marketing of opioids, and web forensic examination to analyze posts that included hyperlinks to external websites.

As a result, during the five-month study period, less than 1% of tweets mentioning opioids were marketing prescription opioids, and only 46 of the hyperlinks included in those tweets were still live when the team analyzed the data eight months later.

“Social media providers can use it to find or prohibit content that is illegal or violates laws to ensure consumers have a safer experience online,” he said.

How Instagram used this New tech and rolls out a new feature ‘PROMOPT

“Instagram says people are using hashtags to find addiction support and communities as well as illegal drugs. This prompt is an attempt to help people who are indulging in or fighting against addictions like opioid and other drugs,” The Verge reported late on Wednesday.

The ‘prompt’ has three options to choose from — “get support”, “see posts anyway”, and “cancel”.

“The new pop-up features are made to solve some of the social media platform’s drug issues, even if it is not posted to address the actual substance sales. It does at least give users a place to go if they’re searching for help,” the report added.

The user can reportedly seek to get support resources that the photo-sharing platform has developed with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.

The feature is currently available in the US with an international roll-out coming soon, according to Engadget.

The Facebook-owned company previously rolled out a similar feature for users who search for hashtags related to self-injury and eating disorders.