On Instagram we can now block someone forever

New step forward by Instagram to block hate, racism and stalking on the platform: coming a new filter for DMs and new tools to block stalkers.

After the recent measures put in place by Instagram to protect underage users specifically, now come two new features that could block much of the hate, bullying and stalking on this platform. These are the filter for direct messages and the ability to ban a person forever.

The two new tools are both algorithmic, so automatic, but it will be up to the user to decide if and when to activate them to protect themselves from harassment and offenses. Instagram, in the post in which it explains the new features on its official blog, says it has worked hand in hand with some major anti-bullying and anti-discrimination organizations especially to develop the new DM filter, which relying on an algorithm needs to be "educated" with a long list of terms to track in conversations to understand if the bar of hatred is rising. Here's how these two new tools work.

Instagram: how the new DM filter works

Instagram already has a hate filter active for the stream of content posted by users: whenever a post contains certain words deemed offensive, racist or in some way discriminatory, the algorithm blocks the publication of the post by inviting the user to moderate the terms.

In direct messages, however, this filter is not active to protect freedom of expression in private conversations. Now, however, things change: the filter is automatically active for messages received from a user who is not yet among our contacts and can also be activated for those coming from our contacts.

Instagram: the perpetual ban

Already now on Instagram you can block a profile (here we explain how to do it), preventing him from seeing what we publish and send us direct messages. Sometimes, however, it happens that those who want to hurt us open another profile to get around the ban to the previous one.

This is a dynamic clearly persecutory, stalking 2.0 that Instagram now wants to block by preventing those who we blocked to contact us through a new profile. If Instagram can figure out that the new profile belongs to the same person we've already blocked, then, that person won't be able to contact us from the new account either.

Even in this case, though, we'll have to be the ones to ask Instagram to block future profiles of the same harassing contact as well.