Instagram's new feature clamps down on unwanted images and videos in DMs

Instagram users won't be able to send photos and videos in DM requests to people who don’t follow them. — Photography miodrag ignjatovic/Getty Images/AFP Relaxnews

Instagram is rolling out a new tool to make its direct messaging service even safer for users. The new feature seeks to prevent users from receiving unwanted videos and photos in DMs.

Instagram is stepping up moderation for direct messages with a new feature that was previously being tested by the platform, but which will now be available to all. From now on, users will no longer be able to receive DM requests featuring photos, videos and even audio recordings from people they don't follow. Only text-based DM invites will be allowed, and these are now limited to just one message, rather than being unlimited in number as was previously the case. Messages can only continue to be exchanged when the user accepts the chat request.

"We want people to feel confident and in control when they open their inbox," said Cindy Southworth, head of Women’s Safety at Meta, in an emailed statement seen by TechCrunch. "That’s why we’re testing new features that mean people can’t receive images, videos or multiple messages from someone they don’t follow, until they’ve accepted the request to chat. We’re grateful for the feedback we hear from our community – and we’ll keep listening to find ways to help everyone feel safer on Instagram."

While this feature has its limits, it adds to Instagram's previously developed functionalities to ensure the better moderation of messages sent via the social network's direct messaging system. From "hidden words," which allows comments and messages to be filtered according to certain "forbidden" words, to the possibility of restricting access to content to certain users, or even blocking them altogether, the platform offers various ways of reducing unwanted interactions. Minors in particular are a central concern of this moderation policy. – AFP Relaxnews

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