Instagram is now announcing a new way to protect people from seeing abusive DMs as well as the ability to prevent someone you’ve blocked from contacting you from a new account. It is introducing a new tool which, when turned on, will automatically filter DM requests containing offensive words, phrases and emojis, so you never have to see them.
This tool focuses on DM requests, because this is where people usually receive abusive messages – unlike your regular DM inbox, where you receive messages from friends. It will work in a similar way to the comment filters which allow you to hide offensive comments and choose what terms you don’t want people to use in comments under your posts.
You can turn both comment and DM request filters on and off in a new dedicated section of your Privacy Settings called Hidden Words. Instagram says it worked with leading anti-discrimination and anti-bullying organizations to develop a predefined list of offensive terms that will be filtered from DM requests when the feature is turned on.
Not only predefined ones but you will also have the option to create your own custom list of words, phrases or emojis that you don’t want to see in your DM requests. “All DM requests that contain these offensive words, phrases, or emojis – whether from your custom list or the predefined list – will be automatically filtered into a separate hidden requests folder. If you choose to open the folder, the message text will be covered so you’re not confronted with offensive language, unless you tap to uncover it. You then have the option to accept the message request, delete it, or report it”, says Instagram.
Instagram says it’ll start rolling out this feature in several countries in the coming weeks and will look to expand to more countries over the next few months.
Another new feature will help you block new accounts from a person who you blocked. Whenever you decide to block someone on Instagram, you’ll now have the option to both block their account and preemptively block new accounts that person may create. This will be available globally in the next few weeks.
“We’re also starting to hide common misspellings of offensive words from your manual comment filter list, so that even if a word you don’t want to see is accidentally or deliberately spelled wrong, you still won’t see it in your comments”, says the company. It also says that it knows there is more to be done and the company is committed to continuing its fight against bullying and online abuse.