Instagram has implemented a new feature that will allow users to ‘secretly’ restrict anyone that engages in online bullying.
The feature was first tested in July 2019, and was aimed at enabling people to avoid unwanted online harassment, without the user being notified that they’ve been restricted. The feature was made available to users worldwide on 2 October, according to The Verge.
The feature is meant to provide a middle ground between outright blocking someone, which could aggravate the bully, and not doing anything at all.
When you use the restrict feature on a particular account, their comments on your post will only be visible to them, and not to other people. However, you will still have the ability to view a restricted person’s comment by clicking on the “See Comment” option if you choose to do so. You also have the ability to delete the comment, or approve it so everyone can see it.
The new feature also applies to messages. If a restricted user sends you a direct message, you won’t receive a notification. Instead, the message will be sent to your “Message request” inbox. Much like the comments, you still have the option to read their message, but the restricted user won’t be able to see if you’ve read it or not. Along with no read receipts, restricted users won’t be able to see when you’re active online.
The idea behind the new feature was to allow users to discreetly restrict other users on the platform. This reduces the presence of bullies on the users account without being alerted to the fact that actions were taken against them. According to a 2017 survey conducted by the British anti-bullying organization, Ditch the Label, 42 percent of cyberbullying victims between the ages of 12 and 20 reported being bullied on the social network.
To restrict someone on Instagram, swipe left on one of their comments and choose the ‘restrict user’ option. You also have the ability to restrict someone directly from their profile or via the privacy tab in the settings menu.