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Instagram cracks down on harassment in direct messages

The app will permanently ban accounts that break its rules in DMs.
This picture taken on September 28, 2020 shows the logo of the social network Instagram on a smartphone, in Toulouse, southwestern France. - The Instagram group will, in early October 2020, celebrate its ten-year anniversary. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP) (Photo by LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP via Getty Images)
LIONEL BONAVENTURE via Getty Images
Karissa Bell
Karissa Bell|@karissabe|February 10, 2021 1:54 PM

Instagram says it’s cracking down on harassment in direct messages and will permanently ban accounts that use direct messages to harass or threaten other users. The change comes after several football players in the UK have reported racist attacks on the app. 

In a blog post, Instagram acknowledged the “racist online abuse targeted at footballers” and added that direct messages are more difficult for the company to police because the company doesn’t use the same automated technology it uses to detect bullying in comments. But with the new policy, Instagram says it will take “tougher action” when harassment in direct messages is reported. 

Previously, Instagram would temporarily limit an account’s ability to use DMs when harassment was reported. Now, the company says that repeated “violating messages” will result in a permanent suspension from its service. “We’ll also disable new accounts created to get around our messaging restrictions, and will continue to disable accounts we find that are created purely to send abusive messages,” Instagram writes. 

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The company also says that it’s working on making the DM controls that allow users to disable messages from accounts they don’t follow available to everyone.

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Instagram cracks down on harassment in direct messages