Instagram will now allow you to filter out abusive posts which contain offensive words, phrases, or emoji so you don’t have to deal with them at all.
The new update focuses on the violence people face in their inboxes when they receive direct messages from people they do not follow.
In a blog post announcing the change, Instagram mentions that because DMs are private conversations, they identify hateful language. Intimidation in these messages implies a different process than elimination in public comments and legends about the application.
Instagram points out that direct mail requests are those for which people are more likely to be abused online, far from the attention of the public. “This tool focuses on direct mail requests, which is where people usually receive abusive messages, unlike your regular inbox, where you receive messages from friends,” the message explains.
“We understand the impact that abusive content, be it racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise, can have on people,” he said. “No one should have to live that way on Instagram.”
The feature will work in a similar way to the comment filters already offered by Instagram. This allows you to mask abusive comments as well as sentences and words that you don’t want people to use comments on your posts.
To enable DM request filters, you can access a new section of your privacy settings known as Hidden Words.
The function can be customized, you can create a custom list of words, phrases or emoji that you wish to filter out of DM queries. These direct mail requests will then be screened in a separate hidden request folder. If you choose to access that folder, the abusive text will be covered so you don’t have to see it, but you can tap to uncover it, should you wish to. You can then select to accept, delete or declare the message request.
There is also an additional feature that could be useful in addressing abuse. Instagram says it will be harder for anyone you’ve blocked to contact you again via a new account. You will now have the option when you block someone at the same time block their account and block all new accounts they might do.
Instagram says it will start deploying these features in “several countries in the coming weeks” and will look to expand around the world in the coming months.