Instagram DMs can now automatically filter out DMs containing offensive words, phrases, and Emojis thanks to a new AI tool.
The tool is primary targeted at celebrities and public figures who receive a large number of unwanted and sometimes harmful direct messages.
The new tool is part of Instagram’s continuous efforts to combat hate speech on its platform. Back in February, the company started to disable accounts that sent multiple harassing messages. Instagram is also automatically filtering comments that attach a person’s appearance or character.
The new Instagram DMs filter tool is optional and can be switched on and off in a new section of the app titled “hidden words.” When toggled on, abusive messages will be automatically filtered and pushed to a separate folder. These messages will no longer appear in the main inbox. If a user chooses to review the hidden messages, they are able to read, delete or report them.
Instagram explained it worked with “leading anti-discrimination and anti-bullying organizations” to establish a preset list of abusive words and phrases. Having said that, each user can also customize their own list based on what they don’t want to see.
The new tool will be rolling out to “several countries” in the coming weeks, with plans to expand to more countries in the next few months.
Instagram also announced a new 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. Instagram did not explain how the tool works specifically, saying only that it uses a “variety of signals” to detect new accounts from those same users. The feature will be pushed out globally in the next few weeks.
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