Instagram is rolling out a new mode called “Restrict” that will let account owners effectively shadow ban a user who comments on photos with offensive or abusive language. The feature first went into public testing in July.
The mode can be activated for specific accounts by swiping left on a comment, heading to your privacy settings, or doing so on the person’s account. Restrict makes it so that “comments on your posts from a person you have restricted will only be visible to that person,” according to a new Instagram blog post published today.
Since the person isn’t blocked, people will still have the ability to see the comment by tapping on a message that appears, similar to how muted replies on Twitter look. Account owners will then have the ability to approve the comment so it’s public to everyone, delete it, or ignore it. Instagram is also removing notifications on comments that come from a restricted account, which is also similar to Twitter’s existing mute system.
Restricting someone’s ability to comment will also affect direct messages. Any attempt to send a direct message will move to a message request, according to Instagram, and notifications won’t be sent. The message can still be read, but restricted accounts won’t be able to see when it’s read or when the person who has restricted them is active on Instagram.
The “Restrict” tool is an additional precaution that people can take to protect themselves from harassment and bullying on the site. Instagram already allows people to block accounts and manage comments. Still, bullying is a problem on Instagram — one that the company has started to take seriously over the last few years. In an article published in The Atlantic last fall, heavy Instagram-using teenagers described the level of bullying on Instagram as “constant.” Instagram is also encouraging its users, particularly younger ones, to take a stand against bullying and spread positivity with the introduction of a series of anti-bullying stickers arriving in the coming weeks.