Instagram Steps Up User Safety With Better Blocking Tools and Hidden Words

Nudges will also see a resurgence

A few more changes are being made to Instagram to better combat abuse and harassment.

Harassment is a problem that most social media platforms have been trying to find the answer to for quite some time, and Instagram is still working on it. Efforts have been made in the past, to be sure, but combating online abuse is an ongoing and constant process—which is why Instagram's tools are expanding.

Surprised, looking at smartphone

Oliver Helbig / Getty Images

In the past, you could block a troublesome account, as well as tell Instagram to auto-block any additional accounts that users may create. Now it goes one step further by giving you the option to also block any alternate accounts they already have, so any and all present and future accounts made by a user that's bothering you will be blocked automatically (assuming Instagram can accurately catch them all).

Hidden Words, which lets you set up an automatic filter for various words and terms you don't want to see in your comments, is also improving. Now it works on Story replies (not just regular posts), and Instagram says the filters are better at catching intentional misspellings—like replacing an "i" with a "1" to circumvent filters. New terms to better filter out possible spam messages are also being tested, and support for several languages outside of English—such as Bengali, Farsi, and Turkish—has been added.

Improved blocking and Hidden Words on Instagram


Nudges (messages intended to dissuade sending possibly hurtful or offensive messages and replies) are also getting more of a push. While it won't prevent these responses from being sent, it will attempt to convince the sender to change their mind and say something less insulting (or not say anything at all).

Instagram's new blocking option, Hidden Words improvements, and more prolific nudges are all available on the app and web versions now, with no updating required. That said, the changes to nudges are limited to apps set to Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, or Spanish for the time being.

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