A new Instagram feature automatically filters out abusive direct messages

Instagram is launching new features to prevent folks from sending you abusive direct messages (DM) and stop blocked users from contacting you from a new account.


  • It’s similar to Instagram’s comment filters.
  • It filters out unwanted DM requests.
  • The new DM request filter is off by default.
  • You can turn it on in Instagram’s privacy settings.
  • You also get a new unwanted contact filter.

Instagram’s abusive messages filter

According to a post on the Instagram blog, the new feature is designed to protect users from seeing abusive DMs in the first place and it builds on the company’s ongoing work to combat abuse and hate speech on its platform.

Because DMs are private conversations, we don’t proactively look for hate speech or bullying the same way we do elsewhere on Instagram. That’s why we’re introducing a new tool which, when turned on, will automatically filter DM requests containing offensive words, phrases and emojis, so you never have to see them.

The new DM request filter will work in a similar fashion to the current comment filters.

Any DM requests with offensive words, phrases or emojis are automatically filtered into a separate “Hidden Requests” folder. DM requests in that folder have the message text covered “so you’re not confronted with offensive language.” To reveal the message, simply tap it.

How to post on Instagram from your computer

You can then accept the message request, delete it or report it. This uses a predefined list of offensive terms that will be filtered from DM requests when the feature is turned on.

How to turn on Instagram’s DM request filter

Off by default, this new DM requests filter must be manually turned on. You can do so in a new dedicated entry of Instagram’s Privacy Settings, labeled “Hidden Words.”

We know different words can be hurtful to different people, so you’ll also have the option to create your own custom list of words, phrases or emojis that you don’t want to see in your DM requests.

Instagram will be rolling out this feature in several countries in the coming weeks before expanding to expand to additional countries “over the next few months.”

What about your privacy and all that jazz?

According to Instagram:

All message filtering will take place on your own device, which means this feature won’t send any message content back to our servers. Using this feature doesn’t share the content of your DM requests with us, unless you report them.

Unwanted contact filter

Aside from the new abusive messages filter, Instagram now has a new optional setting to prevent someone you’ve already blocked from contacting you from a new account. Now when you block someone on Instagram, you’ll be asked whether you’d like to only block their account or also any new accounts that person may create in the future.

That one will be available globally in the next few weeks, Instagram has said.