Earlier this year in February, Instagram announced that those who frequently send abusive messages will have their accounts disabled, and new accounts created to get around the ban will also get the same treatment. Back then, the company revealed that it is working on more ways to curb hate speech in your inbox. Today, the company has outlined a few additional steps to ensure that users don’t get to see such harassing messages in the first place. There is also a new system that prevents someone from sending you messages from another account once you’ve blocked them.
Starting with the preventive measure first, there is now a new tool called ‘Hide Message Requests’ that will automatically hide message requests if they contain offensive words. This works in the same way as filters for comments, and will automatically check for phrases, words, or emojis in message requests before you see them. All such DM Requests are moved to the hidden requests by default so that users don’t see them and get emotionally traumatized.
Instagram is adding a dedicated section called Hidden Words where you can enable the aforementioned filtering behavior for both DM requests and comments. It is not a fool-proof method to stop the menace of harassment in DMs, but it still gives some level of preemptive control in the hands of users. A lot of it has to do with the fact that DMs are private conversations, and Instagram is unable to monitor and regulate them for violating hate speech guidelines in the same fashion as public conversations like posts and comments.
“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.”
The other new feature that Instagram is adding to its platform in the coming weeks for users all across the world is preventing people from contacting you once they’ve been blocked. If you’ve blocked someone on the platform, you will now have the option to also block that individual from reaching out to you using a new account in the future.