Instagram rolls out new anti-abuse features to protect its users

By Arya M Nair, Intern Reporter
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Instagram Safety
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Instagram, the popular photo and video sharing social network is rolling out of a set of new features focused on helping users protect their accounts from abuse, such as offensive and unwanted comments or messages.

During times of increased attention like when something goes viral, the company will add tools for filtering abusive direct message (DM) requests, and a tool for users to limit other users from leaving comments or sending DMs. Those who try to harass others on the platform will also receive stronger warnings, which explains the possible consequences.

As the platform is levitating with influencers, users and businesses, the need to engage in privacy and act against harassment has become a major priority for the company. it has introduced a number of tools to keep down abusive content as well as messages or comments.

Adam Mosseri
Adam Mosseri
Operational Head Instagram

“We hope these new features will better protect people from seeing abusive content, whether it’s racist, sexist, homophobic, or any other type of abuse. We know there’s more to do, including improving our systems to find and remove abusive content more quickly and holding those who post it accountable.”

Limits

Instagram Limits

Limits, a new anti-harassment tool from the image-sharing platform, will automatically hide comments and DM requests from those who don’t follow the user or who have just started following them. According to Instagram research, “a lot of hatred against popular figures comes from those who don’t actually follow them, or who have only recently followed them, and who simply pour on in.”

The feature aims to give Instagram users an easy way to temporarily shut down their accounts when they’re targeted with a flood of harassment. Such addition could combat several incidents, which had included racist comments and emoji, raised awareness of how little Instagram users could do to protect themselves when they’ve gone viral in a negative way.

When limits are enabled in the privacy settings, restricted accounts won’t be able to post comments or send DM requests for a period of time, such as a few days or even weeks. According to the company, it is now experimenting with applying machine learning to detect a rise in comments and DMs in order to prompt users to turn on Limits with a notification in the Instagram app.

Hidden words

Instagram Hidden words

The platform recently announced the addition of a filter to help combat online hate speech. Users may now automatically filter offensive words, phrases, and emojis into a hidden folder with the new Hidden Words feature. DM requests that are likely to be “spam or low-quality” are similarly filtered by this feature.

Hidden Words is already updated in a few countries early this year, but by the end of the month, it will reach all Instagram users worldwide. With messages in their DM inbox and Stories tray, Instagram will encourage accounts with a larger following to use it.

The tool was also improved with the addition of a new option to “Hide More Comments,” which allows users to simply hide potentially harmful comments but do not violate Instagram’s rules.

Related: Instagram extends Reel video limit to 60 seconds, adds protection for teens

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