Instagram has recently rolled out a new feature to protect users from receiving unwanted images and videos in their Direct Messages (DMs). This update, which was initially trialled in June, is designed to restrict users from receiving unwanted messages from people they do not follow.
The new feature will mean that anyone looking to message someone who doesn’t follow them will face two different restrictions:
- Invite Model: Instead of being able to send unlimited DM requests to someone who doesn’t follow them, users will now only be able to send one initial message until their request to chat has been accepted.
- Text Only: The initial invite message can only contain text, meaning that only people who have accepted a request to chat can receive images, videos and voice notes from someone they do not follow.
Previously, Instagram allowed any user to send an unlimited number of message requests to people who did not follow them, and the latest updates will address how people receive unwanted contact from unknown individuals. These updates are expected to be particularly beneficial to women in the public eye, who are more likely to be affected by unwanted messages, including unsolicited nudes.
This latest development is part of Instagram's ongoing efforts to make the platform safer for everyone. Recent updates have included ‘Hidden Words,’ which enables users to filter direct messages that include offensive language, phrases and emojis into a hidden folder. Alongside this, the ‘Limits’ feature helps to protect users from sudden spikes in comments or direct message requests, by hiding interactions from any recent followers or non-followers.
Other protections have included the ‘Restrict’ function, which enables users to monitor and control interactions with people who may harass them without blocking them. Using ‘Restrict’ ensures that any comments they post will only be visible to them, without letting them know that no one can see their comments. Updates to the blocking function have also made it easier to block multiple accounts run by one person.
Instagram’s latest changes also align with their recent updates to Meta’s Family Centre, which has developed new tools focusing on parental supervision and digital wellbeing. Whilst these new changes are welcome additions helping to prevent unsolicited messages and followers on Instagram, there is still plenty you can do to ensure your privacy settings are up to date to avoid harmful content online.
For more information on updating your privacy settings across Instagram and other social media platforms, you can download our free checklists to help ensure your privacy is up to date.
Alongside this, if you have experienced anything harmful online, you can access advice about how to report harmful content through the Report Harmful Content service. To find out more about reporting harmful content online, you can visit visit the Report Harmful Content website below.