You can now softblock your Instagram stalkers

Limits allows you to curb online trolls before they’ve even made themselves known.

by Douglas Greenwood
13 August 2021, 11:19am

Image via Flickr

Instagram continues to be the third circle of hell. If it’s not making you feel terrible about your own body image (thankfully some countries are trying to make this less of a harsh reality), it’s usually hosting trolls and stalkers hellbent on making mean, violent remarks towards folk. Thankfully, the app has introduced Limits. The function, once used solely by those in the public eye, is designed to filter out vitriolic messages and softblock trolls. Now, it comes as standard for all users.

Limits has a number of fairly useful functions. It limits the visibility of comments and DM requests from those who have either recently followed you (in the past week), or don’t follow you at all, meaning that those empty-headed trolls won’t be able to bombard you with mean shit quite as easily. Similarly, enabling the Hidden Words feature -- something introduced by Instagram in April -- allows you to block certain words from being commented on your Instagram posts, or DMed to you.

Sounds pretty useful, right? Right. Instagram have designed the feature based upon recently conducted research, tied particularly to the spike in hate speech that followed the Euro finals in the UK, during which a handful of England’s players were subject to racist abuse. "Our research shows that a lot of negativity towards public figures comes from people who don't actually follow them, or who have only recently followed them, and who simply pile on in the moment," Instagram wrote in a statement. "Limits allows you to hear from your long-standing followers, while limiting contact from people who might only be coming to your account to target you."

So how do you activate the feature? Well, open your Instagram app first, obviously. Open your sidebar by clicking the hamburger menu (that’s the three lines!) in the top right hand corner, choose settings and then open the privacy tab. There, you’ll be able to choose who to limit (accounts that aren’t following you or recent followers, or both) and how long to limit them for. You can choose anything from one day to four weeks, with the option to remind yourself to renew those settings afterwards.

Whether you’re a massive celebrity or an average Joe, best turn it on now for the sake of your own sanity.

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