Instagram announced its new tool that will allow users to automatically filter direct message requests containing offensive words, phrases, and emojis. The tool is targeted at celebrities and public figures who receive a large number of unwanted, harmful DMs.
The update builds on Instagram’s aim to combat hate speech on the platform. In February, the company said it would begin disabling the accounts of users who sent multiple harassing messages.
The message requests filter can be toggled on or off in a new section of the app called “hidden words”. When it’s on, offensive texting will be pushed to a separate folder. DMs in this folder are concealed, allowing users to browse messages without needing to read what they say. If anyone taps into a message, they can read, delete, or report it.
Instagram says it worked with “leading anti-discrimination and anti-bullying organizations” to come up with a preset list of offensive phrases. Customers can also customize their own list based on what they don’t want to see.
The new feature will be rolling out to “several countries” in the coming weeks, with future plans to expand this feature globally.
Instagram also said it is rolling out a tool to allow people to preemptively block new accounts from harassers. Now, when a user blocks someone in the app, they’ll have the option of blocking any new accounts that person creates. This feature will be pushed out globally in the next few weeks.