Instagram updates its anti-abuse features

Everyone who uses social media knows that while it's a good place to share ideas and communicate with friends and family, social media is also where rampant abuse can happen. Instagram has announced that it's adding new features to its service to help protect users from abuse. Instagram says it has a responsibility to ensure people feel safe while using the service.

A new set of features are being revealed to ramp up protections for users of the social network. The new protections include the ability to limit comments and DM requests during episodes of increased attention, stronger warnings when users try to post comments that may be deemed offensive, and the global availability of Hidden Words.

The first of the features is called Limits, and users can turn it on to automatically hide comments and DM requests from users who don't follow them or only recently followed them. The feature is a response to complaints Instagram has had from users about comments and DM requests from people they don't know. Most negativity towards users comes from people who don't follow them or only recently followed them, according to Instagram. Limits is available for everyone, not just public figures, and has rolled out globally.

While Instagram currently shows a warning if someone tries to post potentially offensive comments, it typically shows escalating warnings with strongly worded warnings shown only if the user posts potentially offensive comments for the second or third time. With the change to warnings, the strongly worded warning will happen after the first time a user tries to post a potentially offensive comment. Users shown the strongly worded warning edit or delete the comment 50 percent of the time.

Hidden Words allows users to automatically filter any offensive word, phrase, or emoji from being posted in comments to their content. The feature is also able to filter out any DM request that appears to be spam. Instagram previously launched Hidden Words in certain countries, but it's now rolling out globally. The feature also gets a new "Hide More Comments" option to hide comments that don't break community guidelines but might be harmful.