Instagram introduced a new set of features to protect users from abuse on the platform. "Limits" has been designed to easily prevent unwanted comments and DMs during spikes of increased attention. The new feature also includes stronger warnings to deter people from posting potentially abusive comments with the aim of rolling out a global "Hidden Words" feature that filters abusive DM requests.
"We have a responsibility to make sure everyone feels safe when they come to Instagram," head of Instagram Adam Mosseri wrote in a public statement. "We don't allow hate speech or bullying on Instagram, and we remove it whenever we find it. We also want to protect people from having to experience this abuse in the first place, which is why we're constantly listening to feedback from experts and our community, and developing new features to give people more control over their experience on Instagram, and help protect them from abuse."
Instagram explained in a blog post that the rationale behind the new feature was inspired by spikes in viral engagement following major global events like the 2020 Olympics and the 2020 Euro final. Sometimes fans respond in an outpouring of support, but other times, online trolls use it as an opportunity to send hateful and abusive messages to public figures and individuals. "Our research shows that a lot of negativity towards public figures comes from people who don't actually follow them, or who have only recently followed them, and who simply pile on in the moment. We saw this after the recent Euro 2020 final, which resulted in a significant — and unacceptable — spike in racist abuse towards players."
The Limits feature is available to everyone. To activate the new feature, go to your privacy settings to turn it on, or off, whenever you want. Instagram added that it is "also exploring ways to detect when you may be experiencing a spike in comments and DMs, so we can prompt you to turn on Limits."