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Meta has introduced new ways to protect people from seeing abusive messages on Instagram, the company’s photo and short video-sharing app. These new features are more of an improvement to the platform’s protections and less of entirely new features.
Last year, Meta introduced a robust blocking mechanism in Instagram, making it harder for someone, who you’ve already blocked, to reach you again through a new account. Simply put, it introduced the option to both block their accounts and preemptively block new accounts that they may create. Meta now expects that “four million fewer accounts will need to be blocked every week since these accounts will now be blocked automatically.”
Meta is also improving the Hidden Words setting. Creator accounts will now be able to turn it on from Settings. It is also possible to add a custom list with additional words, phrases, and emojis you want to hide. When you turn on Hidden Words, Instagram will automatically filter DM requests containing offensive words, phrases, and emojis, including the ones you added, so you never have to see them.
Hidden Words setting now applies to Stories replies as well. It also supports new languages, including Farsi, Turkish, Russian, Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, and Tamil. The updated Hidden Words setting has improved filtering “to spot and hide more intentional misspellings of offensive terms.” It will also protect you from seeing scammy messages, though it is available only in the English language for now. Meta will bring more language support in the future.
Lastly, to encourage people to be more respectful on the platform, Meta introduces a new notification to encourage people to pause and consider how they want to respond before replying to comments if the system deems the response offensive. It is now live for people whose apps are set to English, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Chinese, or Arabic.
Meta will also remind users to be respectful when in DMs when they are sending a message request to a creator. This will be rolled out globally in the coming weeks. The platform also promises to bring more ways in the future to protect users from abuse on Instagram.