On December 4, Instagram introduced major changes to keep users of the platform safe from harassment and other potential problems stemming from social media.
One of the changes was the launch of an age-check option for new Instagram users, while the other brings the long-requested ability to block strangers from messaging on the platform.
Let's look at how to use the latter.
Instagram users have to deal with unknown message requests
As we have already discussed the age-check option, we will particularly look at the message blocking, which has been introduced to keep unknown parties from sending messages.
This issue has existed for a long while, as potential stalkers often send explicit/demeaning messages or react to stories to harass users. Their messages show up in the message request section of the Instagram app.
New feature to prevent potential harassment via DMs
While users often ignore message requests, opening the section occasionally and seeing an abusive or harassing comment can be traumatizing.
This is where the new feature comes in; it tackles this issue by only allowing people you follow to send direct messages.
Others are immediately blocked from sending any message, be it a friendly message on your story or a harassing comment.
It also protects users from unwanted group message threads
"People who enable this setting will no longer receive messages, group message requests or story replies from anyone they have not chosen to follow," Instagram said while explaining the advantage of the feature.
How you can use this feature?
The feature works with a new Message control option that appears in the settings of the Instagram app.
To access it, you have to head over to Settings > Privacy > Messages and choose the 'Only people you follow' option given under 'Allow New Messages Requests' head.
Then, people you don't follow will know that you don't allow messages from everyone.
Message control options being rolled out now
The new message request control options have just started rolling out and should be available for all Android and iOS users in the coming weeks.
We would recommend keeping Instagram updated to get your hands on to this capability and start using it.
The Facebook-owned company hopes that the feature will eventually build a safer online community for its users, particularly the youngest members.