In a move aimed at countering unwanted interactions and cyberbullying online, Instagram has come out with a new ‘Restrict’ feature. On its blog, Instagram mentioned that “young people face a disproportionate amount of online bullying but are reluctant to report or block peers who bully them”. Teenagers, especially those in high school, want to avoid confrontation with their peers online as much as possible since they most likely belong to the same social group and fear exclusion. Instagram’s ‘Restrict’ feature lets the user monitor their bully’s activity on the app and exercise more control on their own account.
How Do I restrict someone on Instagram?
Users can enable Restrict in one of three ways:
1. Swipe left or select the comment, on the right top corner you should see an option to Report or Restrict
2. Through the Privacy tab in Settings (Settings > Privacy > Comments > Block Comments From)
3. Go directly to the account of the person you intend to restrict
How Does it Work?
Once you enable Restrict, comments on your posts from the restricted user will only be visible to them, and not to any of your followers. In fact, when a person whom you have restricted, comments on your post, you can choose to either delete, approve or ignore it. You won’t even receive notifications for their comments. Additionally, you needn’t worry about your bully sliding into your DMs if they fail to instigate or humiliate you through your posts.
Instagram will move any Direct Messages from a restricted-user on your account automatically to Message Requests. So, unless you grant them access, they cannot harass or bully you via your DMs. Also, while you can view their messages, the restricted-user will not receive any seen notifications or check whether you are active on the app or not. Of course, users can choose to ‘Unrestrict’ or reverse the Restrict feature any time they choose.
The 'Restrict' feature was released for public testing in July and is still being rolled out, so update your app, as it might not be available across the board yet. Instagram is also planning to release anti-bullying stickers in the upcoming weeks.