Instagram makes its 'Restrict' anti-bullying tool available to everyone

It's designed to keep you from having unwanted interactions in the app.

Instagram is continuing to expand its anti-bullying efforts. A few months after it started testing its "Restrict" tool with a small group of users, the company is now rolling it out to everyone. The feature, which is designed to protect your account from unwanted interactions, makes it easy for you to quietly filter out people who may be harassing you in the app. Instagram says its latest anti-bullying tool can be useful for those who are reluctant to report or block bullies, particularly young people, as Restrict gives them a subtle way to hinder any problematic followers. This means that comments from accounts you restrict won't show up publicly on your posts (unless you approve them), and they won't be able to see when you're active or have read their direct messages.

Restricting another user is simple: all you have to do is swipe left on one of their comments, do it directly via their profile page or go to the Privacy tab in Instagram's settings. After you've enabled "Restrict" on someone's account, their comments on your posts will only be visible to them. That's important because, unlike if you block someone, they have no idea that you have basically cut them off. Again, according to Instagram, Restrict is about providing an alternative to people who may not feel comfortable outright blocking or reporting an account because of fear of retribution. If you do want to approve a comment from a restricted account, you can tap "See Comment" or just ignore or delete it.

Meanwhile, DMs from restricted users are automatically sent to your Message Request inbox, and you won't get any notifications for them. As mentioned earlier, the restricted sender will not be able to see when you've read their direct messages, so you can have some peace of mind there as well. And if you change your mind and want to "Unrestrict" an account, which will make comments from a potential bully public and let their DMs go right to your main inbox, that is an option you're going to have. Instagram says it knows bullying is a complex issue, but its hope is that features like Restrict can help make its app be a better place.

The launch of Restrict follows a string of tools Instagram has been testing to combat bullying and harassment in recent months, including a feature which uses artificial intelligence to warns people against leaving comments that may be hurtful on other people's posts. In addition to that, as part of National Bullying Prevention Month, Instagram says that throughout October it will be working with creators on spreading anti-bullying awareness and "educating young people about important issues." Just last month, it premiered an Instagram TV series from Jonah Hill that tackles bullying -- a topic that the company has doubled down on since Adam Mosseri took over as the head of Instagram in 2018.