With an eye on hate speech and harassment, Instagram will be rolling out new features that can filter out abusive DM requests and allow for the pre-emptive blocking of unwanted contacts.
The filtering tool is an entirely optional one and will apply to DM requests because that’s how users typically receive abusive messages – according to Instagram. When turned on, the tool will automatically filter out DM requests with offensive words, phrases, and emojis, and shove them into a separate hidden requests folder.
The tool will come with a predefined list of offensive terms that Instagram has compiled in consultation with anti-discrimination and anti-bullying groups. But you can create your own customised list as well. It’ll function a lot like existing comment filters, which allows you to hide offensive comments and specify what terms you don’t want others to use while commenting on your posts.
Both the DM request and comment filters can be toggled on or off in a new dedicated section of “Privacy Settings” called “Hidden Words”. Instagram claimed that all message filtering would happen on your device – message content will not be sent back to the company’s servers.
Instagram is also making it harder for people you’ve blocked to contact you again through a new account. So whenever you block someone, you’ll also get the option to preemptively block new accounts that person may create.
The filtering tool will be rolling out in several countries (unnamed by Instagram) in the next few weeks and then expanded to others over the next few months. Pre-emptive blocking, however, will go global in the next few weeks.