Facebook’s Instagram is introducing a feature that prevents users from viewing potentially abusive messages by filtering offensive words, phrases, and emojis in the photo sharing app.

The company announced on Wednesday that, along with the Abusive Direct Message filtering option, it will also make it more difficult for people blocked by users to bypass and contact them through new accounts.

Instagram has advanced its efforts to fight hate speech and online abuse on its platform, which is more popular with teenagers and young adults than Facebook’s main app.

The filter, which can be activated on Instagram in the privacy settings, can be customized by users to include or avoid words, phrases and emojis that they want to block in their message requests.

Users can, at their own discretion, report, delete, or open messages that are sorted into a hidden request folder, according to Instagram.

The feature, which only applies to direct message requests and not to the inbox itself, will be rolled out in some countries in the coming weeks, according to Instagram.

From a few weeks onwards, all users will also have the expanded option of completely preventing people from contacting them on Instagram after their account has been blocked.


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