Instagram is introducing a new feature aimed at shielding users from unsolicited images and videos in direct messages, the company revealed on Thursday. This roll-out comes after several weeks of testing which began in late June.
The update includes two key restrictions:
- Users will now be able to send only one message to individuals who don't follow them back, instead of sending an unlimited number of DM requests. Further messages can be sent only after the recipient accepts the chat request
- The content of DM invites is now restricted to text only. This implies that images, videos, or voice notes can only be sent to non-followers after they have accepted a user's chat request
These measures will prevent users from receiving unsolicited images or videos from unknown accounts, according to Meta's social media platform, while also preventing strangers from repeatedly messaging them.
"We want people to feel confident and in control when they open their inbox. That's why we’re testing new features that mean people can't receive images, videos, or multiple messages from someone they don't follow until they've accepted the request to chat," Cindy Southworth, head of Women’s Safety at Meta, told TechCrunch in a statement.
The social media platform already offers a "Hidden Words" setting that automatically sends DM requests containing offensive words, phrases, or emojis to a separate folder. Additionally, the "Limits" feature helps users manage sudden surges in unwanted comments or DM requests.
Meanwhile, the "Restrict" setting allows users to subtly monitor bullies without outright blocking them. Users can also opt to block someone entirely, preventing them from sending any further messages.
More information on Instagram's existing protections against abuse and unwanted contacts is available on the Privacy Settings section.
Edited by Ricardo Esteves