Instagram launches anti-bullying feature to combat ‘racist, sexist, homophobic’ abuse


Instagram is launching a new anti-bullying feature to filter out “racist, sexist, homophobic” abuse in your DMs.

While Instagram already “proactively looks for hate speech or bullying” in public comments, the new feature will focus the abuse users receive in direct messages.

The new tool will filter DM requests, where users say they receive the most abusive messages, containing “offensive words, phrases and emojis”.

Users will be able to toggle filters on and off for DMs and comments in a new “Hidden Words” privacy section, where they will be able to add words, phrases and emojis that they don’t want to see in addition to a predefined list.


The list of terms already created by Instagram was developed in collaboration with “anti-discrimination and anti-bullying organisations”.

Instagram said: “We understand the impact that abusive content – whether it’s racist, sexist, homophobic, or any other kind of abuse – can have on people.

“Nobody should have to experience that on Instagram. But combatting abuse is a complex challenge and there isn’t one single step we can take to eliminate it completely.”

To further combat hate on the platform, Instagram will also start filtering common misspellings of offensive terms in public comments, “so that even if a word you don’t want to see is accidentally or deliberately spelled wrong, you still won’t see it in your comments”.

In addition, a third new feature means that when a user blocks someone, they will also be able to preemptively block any new accounts the user might create in the future.


The platform added: “We know there’s still more we can do, and we’re committed to continuing our fight against bullying and online abuse.

“We’ll keep working in partnership with experts, industry organisations, teens, creators, and public figures to understand their experience on Instagram and how we can evolve our policies and products to protect them from online abuse.”

Instagram will start rolling out the new features “in the coming weeks”.