In general, the internet can be a cruel place, and Instagram is no exception. Most of the time, the platform is a fantastic way to share and view unique and creative content, to reach an audience of both fans and friends. People can step out of line and harass or bully others on posts to the detriment of the entire community. However, this type of commenting won’t be sustainable for much longer.
On July 9, Instagram announced a new feature called “Restrict,” which aims to reduce the number of negative comments on Instagram as a whole. When you restrict someone on Instagram, that person’s comments will only be visible to you and that person. Other users who view your content won’t see restricted users’ comments unless you approve the comments first. Best of all, restricted users are never notified that you restricted them, so you can rest easy when pulling the trigger.
Instagram said Restrict would soon enter testing. Until then, we only know what the company has disclosed so far. However, it appears you access the Restrict option the same way you access other reporting tools, by swiping left on the comment and tapping the exclamation point. Then, tap “Restrict [username],” and “Restrict Account.” A pop-up will appear confirming your decision, which you can quickly revert by tapping “Unrestrict.”
Hopefully, you’ll find less need for this feature than you’d think. Alongside Restrict, Instagram also announced a new AI-based deterrent for negative comments. If someone tries to post a comment that Instagram’s algorithm flags, they’ll be notified before they post the comment. They can still post the comment, but perhaps it will force some bullies to stop and reflect on the hurtful thing they were about to say.