Instagram launches new keyword filters for abusive DMs: Here's how it works
They company on Wednesday announced new tools to combat abuse and harassment on the platform, in the form of keyword-based filters to protect users from abusive Direct Messages.
Instagram on Wednesday announced that it was launching new tools to combat abuse and harassment on the platform, in the form of keyword-based filters to protect users from abusive Direct Messages, a feature we reported was in the works less than a week ago. It will also stop users that have been blocked from sending DMs using a newly created account
The first tool Instagram is launching is an automated tool to filter abusive messages and emoji from DMs, including those with racist, sexist, homophobic, and other forms of abuse. The filter-based approach will be optional for users and can be turned on via a new setting called Hidden Words. The filtering will happen at the DM request section, which is where a lot of users receive abusive messages, the company says.
Instagram says that the keywords, which are essentially offensive terms, phrases and emoji, were curated by working with anti-discrimination and anti-bullying organizations. However, users will also be able to create their own list of words, emojis and phrases that will also be filtered out of their DM requests, and into a “hidden requests” folder, where they will be masked until you tap to uncover the content.
The company is also seeking to reassure privacy-conscious users that the DM filtering feature will work completely on the user’s device and no message content will be sent to Instagram’s servers for processing. Meanwhile, the company will still be able to see the content of your message requests after they are reported.
Meanwhile, the second anti-abuse tool will further deter users from contacting someone who blocked them by creating a new account. In addition to the option to block an abusive user’s account, the company is adding the ability to “preemptively” block any new accounts they may create in the future. While the company hasn’t disclosed how it will identify when a blocked user creates a new account, it could be done via verifying phone numbers or via other device identifiers.
Instagram hasn’t mentioned when the second tool that prevents users from contacting someone who blocked them via a new account will be available. However, the keyword-based DMs filtering setting will roll out to several countries in the next few weeks, adding that it will expand to even more countries over the coming months, according to the company.