Instagram is expanding its anti-bullying features for teens

The app is making its "limit" and "restrict" features more powerful.


Instagram is expanding two of its safety features in an effort to ramp up its bullying protections for teens. The company is changing how limiting and restricting work in its app to give teens ways to deal with potential bullies that it claims are less likely to lead to further retaliation.

With the changes, Instagram users will have the ability to “limit” their post interactions to “close friends” only. That means that users will only see comments, direct messages, tags and mentions from people on their close friends list. Other followers will still be able to interact with their posts, but those comments and messages won’t be visible to others.

The company previously introduced comment limiting as a creator-focused anti-bullying feature in 2021 with the goal of preventing the kind of sudden flood of harassment experienced by several UK football players. The latest changes, according to Instagram, are geared more toward teens who are dealing with bullies, but may be hesitant to use the app’s block feature due to fears of escalating potential conflicts,

For cases when people may be dealing with one particular bully, Instagram is making similar changes to its “restrict” feature. Users will be able to prevent restricted individuals from tagging or mentioning them. Comments from those on the restricted list will also be automatically hidden from others.

The updates comes as Meta is facing scrutiny over its handling of teen safety and other issues. The company was sued by dozens of states last year for allegedly failing to protect its youngest users from harmful aspects of its service.