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Instagram launches DM filters to reduce visibility of abusive content and hate speech

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

Instagram is rolling out filters for direct messages (DM)s that will let users persoanlise their DMs by choosing to hide certain abusive words. Instagram will then hide these messages from users’ DMs.

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Instagram notes that it aims to reduce racist, sexist, homophobic, and other kind of abuse that users with particularly a large number of followers face. Users can access this tool by going to Privacy Settings > Hidden words.

“But combatting abuse is a complex challenge and there isn’t one single step we can take to eliminate it completely. For example, we know that many in our community, particularly people with larger followings, have faced abuse in their DM request inbox from people they don’t follow,” Instagram in a blog post noted.

When the new tool is turned on, it will automatically filter DM requests containing offensive words, phrases, and emojis, so you never have to see them. Instagram notes that the tool will focus on DM requests where unknown people message users as against regular SM inbox where users receive messages from friends.

The tool functions similarly as the Hide comments tool which lets users hide offensive comments and lets them choose what terms they do not want people to use in comments. The tool also enables users to personalise a list of words, phrases, or emojis that they want to filter out of DM requests.

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“Those DM requests will then be filtered into a separate hidden requests folder. If you choose to access that folder, the abusive text will be covered so you don’t have to see it, but you can tap to uncover it, should you wish to. You can then choose to accept the message request, delete it, or report it,” Instagram noted.

Instagram also announced that make it harder for someone who you have already blocked from contacting you again through a new account. Instagram notes that with the new update in place when a user blocks someone on Instagram, he or she will have the option to block their accounts and preemptively block new accounts that person may create. The feature will roll out to users globally in the next few weeks.

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