Instagram just introduced a suite of new functions and updates they hope will help quell the sweat-inducing sense of impending dread some users experience when opening their comments and messages.
In a blog post, Instagram says it will begin presenting certain users gentle “nudges” when they reply to a comment with potentially offensive language. In other words, the app will try to warn you against being a nasty jerk. An example image of the nudge shows a pop-up with bold text reading, “Help Keep Instagram a Supportive Place.” Smaller text underneath that reads, “you can set the tone by keeping your comment respectful. The app will also issue similar nudges to users directly messaging creators on the platform.
“This nudge helps people remember that there’s a real person on the other side of their DM request, and encourages more respectful outreach to people they may not know,” Instagram said.
Though clearly a nice gesture, the nudge won’t stop committed assholes from clicking through and sending their incensed comment anyways. That’s where the other new features come into play.
Blocking, which has become an invaluable tool for social media users across platforms, is getting an upgrade. The improved feature will detect whether or not the account a user blocks has or opens other accounts and then gives the user the option to block those accounts as well. This should help combat the problem of incessant stalkers or strangers sneaking around blocks by creating new burner accounts. Instagram estimates this change could result in four million fewer accounts being manually blocked every week.
Instagram’s also adding new protections to its Hidden Words safety feature launched last year. Originally, that tool let users automatically filter out certain words from their comments and messages so they never had to see them. Now, Instagram’s expanding Hidden Words to cover Stories replies as well. The company says it has also improved its filtering tools so it’s better at catching intentionally misspelled words intended to offend their recipient, one of the tricker loophole evading filtering tools in the past. The improved filtering, in theory, should also be better equipment to detect spam and scams.