Instagram on Wednesday released a new feature that allows users block out abusive messages in their DMs.
The new feature is an update to Instagram’s existing policies to combat abuse and hate speech on the platform, which were put in place in February and included stricter penalties for people who sent out hateful messages. Now, Instagram’s new tools will protect its users from seeing abusive DMs in the first place will also prevent people that have been blocked from contacting you on a different account.
The new tools can be turned on and off and will automatically filter DM requests “containing offensive words, phrases and emojis.” Filtered messages will be sent to a separate hidden requests folder that you can choose to accept, delete or report.
“We understand the impact that abusive content — whether it’s racist, sexist, homophobic, or any other kind of abuse — can have on people,” Instagram said. “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.”
The tool works in a similar way to Instagram’s existing comment filters, which allow users to hide offensive comments and decide what terms to block in the comment section of their posts. Both DM request filters and comment filters can be accessed in a new dedicated section of the Privacy Settings called Hidden Words. The feature will be rolled out in several countries in the coming weeks and across more regions over the next few months.
In addition, Instagram is also making it harder for people who you have blocked to contact you again in the future. The platform is now giving its users the option to block someone’s account and also preemptively block any new accounts they may create. This feature will be rolled out globally in the coming weeks.
Last month, Instagram introduced new safety features to prevent adults from messaging users under 18 who don’t follow their accounts.