Abusive direct messages are a common problem faced by many Instagram users who have to delete them every now and then. Now, Instagram announced a new tool that will automatically filter out direct message requests, if the message has offensive words, emojis, and phrases. 

The tool is mainly targeted at celebrities and public figure accounts who often receive abusive and unwanted DMs in large numbers. Instagram has been working to combat growing hate speech on the platform with different updates.

In February, the company announced that it would remove the accounts of users who send abusive messages. “We’re announcing some new measures, including removing the accounts of people who send abusive messages and developing new controls to help reduce the abuse people see in their DMs,” read the blog post.

In 2018, the social media giant expanded its filter that automatically blocks users’ comments that attack the appearance of the character of a person. Users can disable the filter if they want to see unedited comments on their feeds and posts, but the filter will be enabled by default.

Hidden words

The new direct message requests filter can be enabled or disabled by the user in a new section on the app called hidden words. If it’s on, messages containing abusive and offensive language will be pushed into a separate folder. The folder containing the abusive messages is concealed so users can swipe through normal DMs. If a user wants to read it they can simply tap it and then delete or report it.

Instagram said it worked with top anti-discrimination and anti-bullying organisations to build a preset list of offensive and abusive phases. The update provides an option for users to customize their own list of phrases that they don’t want to see.


According to the company, the new feature will soon be rolled out in several countries in the coming weeks.  They did not specify any country name that will be receiving the new update. After releasing in some countries, they are planning to extend the feature to more countries in the coming months.

During the accountment about the filter, the platform mentioned a new tool that will allow users to block new accounts created by harassers. When a user blocks an account that tries to harass them, they will now have the option to block new accounts created by the harasser to target them. This tool will be rolled out next week, the company didn’t give out details about how the tool work to perform its core action