Instagram launches ‘limits’ to protect its users from online abuse
The new ‘limits’ feature will automatically hide comments and DM requests from people who don’t follow or who only recently followed the user. However, the user needs to manually switch on the feature for it to work.
In a blog post, Instagram wrote, “To help protect people when they experience or anticipate a rush of abusive comments and DMs, we’re introducing Limits: a feature that’s easy to turn on, and will automatically hide comments and DM requests from people who don’t follow you, or who only recently followed you.”
Instagram says that the feature was designed to protect its users from “an influx of unwanted comments or messages” during “sudden spikes.”
The company specifically mentioned the men’s Euro 2020 final as a prime example of unwanted racist abuse that needed to be addressed. After a penalty shootout loss to Italy, England’s black players were subjected to racist abuse on their social media platforms.
Instagram’s new ‘limits’ feature aims to solve this by limiting comments and DM requests from people who might only be coming to a user’s account to target them while allowing the user to hear from their long-standing followers.
“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,” wrote Instagram.
“In many cases, this is an outpouring of support — like if they go viral after winning an Olympic medal. But sometimes it can also mean an influx of unwanted comments or messages.”
Apart from ‘limits,’ Instagram has also introduced several other new features to help combat online abuse.
Users can use the ‘Hidden Words‘ feature to “automatically filter offensive words, phrases and emojis into a Hidden Folder.”
The ‘Hidden Words’ feature can also filter DM requests that are of low quality and spammy.
Instagram has also introduced “stronger warnings” to discourage people from posting offensive comments.
“We already show a warning when someone tries to post a potentially offensive comment. And if they try to post potentially offensive comments multiple times, we show an even stronger warning – reminding them of our Community Guidelines and warning them that we may remove or hide their comment if they proceed,” wrote Instagram.