Instagram has unveiled a set of new security features on iOS and Android to better protect users from offensive internet trolls.
Improvements to the platform’s blocking system, hidden word updates, kindness reminders, and comment responses — more on the four updates below — will all work to prevent abuse from users in general and public figures, says Instagram.
Now, for example, when you block someone on Instagram, you will also have the option to block other accounts that that person already has, in addition to those that they may create in the future, making it difficult for them to interact with you. Based on the results of initial tests, Instagram calculates that the change will result in an additional four million accounts automatically blocked each week.
Instagram’s hidden words system – which filters out DM requests and comments containing offensive words, phrases and emojis – has also been updated. The social media service has improved filtering to detect intentional misspellings of offensive terms, and the feature has expanded to cover unwanted responses from random user stories. Enable it in the app’s privacy settings if you haven’t already done so.
Going forward, Instagram says it will also apply this hidden word system to DM requests that contain spam and scams – which (hopefully) means you will no longer have to manually delete these too-good-to-be-true pyramid scheme arguments.
Kindness reminders are brand new, though they only apply to creators and public figures at the moment. Now, when you try to send a DM request to a creator, Instagram will show a message at the bottom of the chat reminding you to be kind and keep Instagram as a place of support (see above).
Comment nudges are based on the same principle and apply more broadly to Instagram as a whole. Building on existing comment warnings, new notifications will encourage people to pause and consider how they want to respond before responding to a comment that Instagram’s systems flag as potentially offensive.
Instagram says these nudges are live now for people whose Instagram apps are set to English, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Chinese or Arabic. Presumably more regions will follow in the future.
For more Instagram-related content, check out our guides on how to change your Instagram password (or reset it), enable dark mode, and disable ‘precise location’ tracking (spoiler: it’s easy).