Instagram is making it difficult to flood your DM inbox. The social network is rolling out stricter DM request policies that, among other things, limits senders to a single message if you don't follow them. You'll have to accept the chat request before they can send anything more. DM requests are now limited to text, too. Creeps and spammers can't send photos, videos or voice messages, in other words.
The company started testing the new DM restrictions in late June. The company already has some tools to combat spam, including a "Hidden Words" tool that hides messages with objectionable keywords and emoji. There are now filters for scams and spam. You can also safeguard against surges in DM requests, although that won't stop the occasional spammer from getting through.
Instagram characterizes the move as a safety measure, particularly for women. The firm explains to TechCrunch that women frequently receive unsolicited nudes in their DMs. This effectively halts the practice, although it won't stop harassers from sending crude text.
The addition comes as parent company Meta is facing pressure from politicians and critics to improve its anti-abuse measures, particularly for teens. A Senate bill would require parental consent for teens wanting to use social media apps, for instance, while Arkansas recently enacted a law requiring age verification. That's on top of longstanding concerns that its anti-harassment policies haven't always done enough to protect some demographics. Efforts like this theoretically head off some of the complaints that Meta is letting abuse through.