Social Media

Instagram allows users to limit comments and DM requests, among other features to curb abuse

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on August 11, 2021

It has also announced the global rollout of its Hidden Words feature, which allows people to filter abusive DM requests

Instagram is introducing a new set of features to further protect users from abuse on the platform. These features include the ability for people to limit comments and DM (direct message) requests during spikes of increased attention and stronger warnings while posting potentially offensive comments.

It has also announced the global rollout of its Hidden Words feature, which allows people to filter abusive DM requests. “We don’t allow hate speech or bullying on Instagram, and we remove it whenever we find it. We also want to protect people from having to experience this abuse in the first place, which is why we’re constantly listening to feedback from experts and our community, and developing new features to give people more control over their experience on Instagram, and help protect them from abuse,” Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram said in a blog post.

New features

The Facebook-owned photo sharing platform’s new Limits feature once turned on will automatically hide comments and DM requests from people who don’t follow the user or who only recently followed them. “We developed this feature because we heard that creators and public figures sometimes experience sudden spikes of comments and DM requests from people they don’t know,” Mosser explained.

“In many cases, these messages can be positive. However, sometimes it can also mean an influx of unwanted comments or messages. Now, if you’re going through that — or think you may be about to — you can turn on Limits and avoid it,” he said.

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For instance, in cases such as the recent Euro 2020 final, which had resulted in a significant and unacceptable spike in racist abuse towards players from the United Kingdom.

Limits allows users to hear from their long-standing followers, while limiting contact from people who might only be coming to their account to target them. Limits is now available to everyone on Instagram globally.

Users can turn the feature on from their privacy settings. “We’re also exploring ways to detect when you may be experiencing a spike in comments and DMs, so we can prompt you to turn on Limits,” Mosseri said.

Stronger warnings

It will now also show stronger warnings on the first instance when a user tries to post potentially offensive comments. The platform already shows a warning when someone tries to post a potentially offensive comment. And if they try to post potentially offensive comments multiple times, it shows an even stronger warning - reminding them of its Community Guidelines and warning them that it may remove or hide their comment if they proceed. Now, rather than waiting for the second or third comment, the platform show this stronger message the first time.

In the last week it showed warnings about a million times per day on average to people when they were making comments that were potentially offensive. Of these, about 50 per cent of the times the comment was edited or deleted by the user based on these warnings.

In a bid to combat abuse in DMs and comments, Instagram had recently announced Hidden Words feature which allows users to automatically filter offensive words, phrases and emojis into a Hidden Folder. It also filters DM requests that are likely to be spammy or low-quality. The social media major had launched this feature in a handful of countries earlier this year, and it will be available for everyone globally by the end of this month, Mosseri said.

“We’ll continue to encourage accounts with large followings to use it, with messages both in their DM inbox and at the front of their Stories tray,” he added. It has also expanded the list of potentially offensive words, hashtags and emojis that it automatically filters out of comments, and will continue updating it frequently.

It has also recently added a new opt-in option to “Hide More Comments” that may be potentially harmful, even if they may not break its rules.

Published on August 11, 2021

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