Instagram has just announced that it’s tightening up its abuse policy. From now on, if someone abuses you through direct messages, their account will be deleted permanently. And more than that, Instagram will also delete any other account they make trying to get around the platform’s messaging restrictions.
Instagram made the decision after several UK footballers reported racist attacks via direct messages. The platform already sanctions abusive comments, but it gets trickier when the bullying occurs in DMs. “Because DMs are for private conversations, we don’t use technology to proactively detect content like hate speech or bullying the same way we do in other places,” Instagram explains. But after the recent abuse reports, some stricter measures are going to take place.
Right now, if someone sends you a bullying DM, Instagram prevents that person from sending you any more messages for a set period of time. But from now on, if the abusive messages continue, Instagram will disable the bully’s account completely. Furthermore, the platform will also disable them from creating new accounts to bypass the restrictions. In addition, Instagram will also disable any accounts that appear to be created only to send abusive messages.
Instagram already has a wide set of tools that should prevent and reduce bullying in the comments, captions, even photos. You can also shadowban bullies from your account if for any reason you don’t want to block them. But all of that is public content. Controlling direct messages is trickier considering that those conversations are private, but it looks like Instagram needs to step in and take control over DM bullies, too.
There’s another feature Instagram has announced as a part of giving you more control over DMs. The platform is unrolling the option to switch off direct messages from people you don’t follow. It’s already available for Business and Creator accounts, but Instagram is working on rolling out this feature for everyone.