Instagram announced a new feature that allows users to filter their DMs that contain offensive language, words and emojis. It will work similarly to comment filters. The social network is implementing this filter to combat hate speech on the platform. It was created primarily for public figures who receive a lot of abusive messages. The filter can be turned on and off in a special section of privacy settings called Hidden Words.
The company explained that when enabled, the new algorithm automatically filters requests in the user's DMs, analyzing the presence of offensive phrases from a dedicated list. The company said that the list of offensive phrases was compiled together with the specialists from organizations that work to combat discrimination. Users will also be able to add their own words to the predefined list of offensive terms that will be filtered from DM requests.
As pointed out by representatives of Instagram, the new feature applies only to DM requests, because offensive phrases are most often found there. Regular messages will not be filtered. The ban will not affect messages from those who are already friends with users.
As explained by Instagram, filtering will be performed on users' devices. The feature will not send the content of messages to the company's servers – this will happen only if the user complains to the social network administration.
DM requests containing offensive words or emojis will automatically be placed in a separate hidden requests folder. The text of such messages will be hidden unless the user taps to uncover it. Users will be able to accept the request, delete it, or report it.
The new feature will be available in the coming weeks in one of the next app updates for iOS and Android in several countries at once, with Instagram planning to expand its geography in the coming months.
Instagram also announced the introduction of a tool that will block new accounts of previous attackers in advance.
Previously, Instagram announced the blocking of accounts of users who send a lot of offensive messages to others.