Instagram is adding new features to prevent harassment in direct messages. The changes include new ways to filter message requests and the ability to block the same user on multiple accounts.
The update comes after Instagram tightened its harassment policies in direct messages after UK footballers speak out racist messages they had received in the application. The company said at the time that preventing abuse in direct messages was a challenge because it did not use the same automated tools as in its comments.
Now Instagram will give users the ability to not only block an individual user, but also to “preemptively” block any new accounts they create. This could help people who are repeatedly targeted by the same people or just don’t want the person to be able to find them with a new account. (Instagram notes that its rules prohibit banned users from creating new accounts.)
The app also adds a new tool to prevent abuse in “message requests,” the separate inbox for messages from people you don’t already follow. Instagram is adding a new filtering tool, which allows users to automatically hide requests for messages “containing offensive words, phrases and emojis.” The company says it has worked with anti-bullying organizations to create a blocked words list, although users can add their own words to the list as well.
Instagram has repeatedly faced pressure to do more to prevent bullying on its app. The app is also currently under scrutiny over its plans to create a version of its service for children under 13. recently in a hurry Facebook needs to include more safeguards for children, and members on both sides have questioned whether the social media company is doing enough to protect its younger users.
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