Tech

Instagram launches profanity filter to fight abuse on platform

Instagram said Wednesday that it will soon unveil a new feature that will filter offensive words, phrases and emojis from direct messages.

The profanity filter will also make it harder for trolls who are already blocked to contact people by creating new accounts.

Although the Facebook-owned site didn’t share examples of offensive words, it did say on its company blog that users will be able to decide which words, phrases and emojis they wish to block or avoid receiving in their message requests.

By turning on the filter in Instagram’s privacy settings, users can also report, delete or open messages, which will be sorted into a hidden requests folder, Instagram said.

Additionally, when the feature is turned on, Instagram will automatically filter out a “predefined list of offensive terms” that the company and “leading anti-discrimination and anti-bullying organizations” came up with together.

In recent years, Instagram has been expanding its efforts to combat hate speech and online abuse on its platform, which is used by more teens and young adults than Facebook.

instagram
Instagram said on its company blog that users will be able to decide which words, phrases and emojis they wish to block in their message requests.
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The new tool is only applicable to direct message requests and not the inbox itself, but does include advanced blocking features, the company said.

Indeed, the new feature will allow users who have already blocked an account to preemptively block new accounts that a troll may create.

Instagram didn’t give a specific date for the launch of the new tool, but said to expect it to roll out globally in the “next few weeks.”