Posted on February 11, 2020

Today is Safer Internet Day, a day to promote the education of online safety worldwide. We’re committed to fostering a safe and supportive community for everyone who uses Instagram. We wanted to take this opportunity to highlight some of the ongoing work we’ve been doing to keep people safe, as well as some of the tools we’ve recently built to give people more control over their experience.

What to do if you see something that shouldn’t be on Instagram

If you see something that shouldn’t be on Instagram such as bullying or offensive content, you can report it to us. Our team works 24/7 to quickly review and remove content that goes against our Community Guidelines. Reporting on Instagram is always anonymous, so the person who posted the content will not know you reported it. To learn how to submit a report visit the Instagram Help Center. As always, we remove content on Instagram when it breaks our rules, not just because it receives multiple reports.

More transparency when you report something

Today we’re introducing new ways to better update people when they report something to us. First we’re announcing Support Requests, a new feature that shows the status of your submitted reports, as well as your report history. To see your reports, go to “Settings” in Instagram and then tap “Support Requests.” From there you can tap any report to see more information about its status. You can also tap “More Options” for suggested actions to take, like muting, blocking, restricting or unfollowing the user whose content you’ve reported. And if you disagree with the action we’ve taken on the content you reported, you can now tap “Request a Review” to have us take a second look. This new feature will be rolling out over the coming weeks.

Instagram app showing Support Requests feature

Better appeals process for disabled accounts

We’re also announcing a new option to appeal disabled accounts directly within Instagram. Previously, this option was only available through the Instagram Help Center. Now, the in-app appeal option will automatically appear when you attempt to log in to your disabled account. Your username will be pre-populated and you will need to add your full name, e-mail and a reason why you think we may have made a mistake in disabling your account. Finally, tap “Request a Review” to have your disabled account re-reviewed and potentially restored. This feature will be rolling out over the coming weeks.

Instagram app screenshots of new disabled accounts appeal process

Preventing bullying and harassment

Young people face a disproportionate amount of online bullying but are reluctant to report or block peers who bully them, so last year we created a new feature called Restrict. Once you Restrict an account, you won’t receive any notifications from them. Comments from a restricted account will only be visible to you and the person you restricted, and messages from a restricted account will automatically get moved to Message Requests. The restricted account will not be able to see when you’ve read their direct messages or when you are active on Instagram.

In addition to features that help you stand up to bullying, we’ve created new ways to help stop bullying before it happens. If someone writes a comment or caption for a feed post that our AI detects as potentially offensive, they will receive a prompt that the language used is similar to language that has been reported for bullying. They will then have an opportunity to edit the caption or comment before posting. We’ve found that these types of nudges can encourage people to reconsider posting potentially offensive or harmful language.

Instagram app screenshots of Restrict feature process and restricted comment

Keeping your account secure

There are some easy things you can do to help keep your account safe, including making sure you have a strong password and enabling two-factor authentication. When enabling two-factor authentication, we recommend using an authentication app as your primary security method.

To support accounts that have been hacked, we’ve made it easier for you to sign in and reclaim your account. If we detect you are having trouble logging in, or if you select “Need more help” on the login page, we will automatically help you recover your account. First, we will surface options to help you confirm that you own the account, such as entering a code sent to your email or phone. Next, we will help you update your email, phone and other profile information. After completing this process all other unauthorized accesses to your account will be removed. This lets you recover your account even if the account information has been changed by a hacker.

Lastly, we know phishing is an increasingly prevalent issue, so to make it easier for people to determine if an email is legitimate, we created Emails from Instagram. Just navigate to Instagram settings, tap “Emails from Instagram” and you will be able to see all recent emails Instagram sent to you. This will help users distinguish legitimate emails sent by Instagram from phishing emails which may appear to come from an official Instagram account.

Protecting your privacy

You’re in control of what you share on Instagram. You can choose to make your account private, which means you approve the people who follow you and can remove followers at any time. You can also choose who can comment on your posts, or turn off “Show Activity Status” so people can’t see when you’re online. To do this, visit the “Privacy and security” section of the Settings menu. If there’s a photo or video that you no longer want anyone else to see, you can delete it by tapping “Delete” above the post, or you can archive it.

You control who sees and shares your Stories. In the lower right hand corner of your Story tap “…”, then tap “Story Settings.” Then you can choose accounts to hide your story from and set controls for who can reply to and share your stories. For times when you only want to share your Stories with a few people, you have the option to make a close friends list on Stories and share with just the people you’ve added. To create a list, go to your profile and tap on “Close Friends” in the side menu.

In order to give you more control over who can and cannot contact you on Instagram, we recently launched a new setting to help you control who can send you direct messages. This new feature allows only people you follow to message and add you to group threads. We will be testing this new feature over the coming months.

Instagram app screenshots of Message Control options

Last year, we introduced a feature to help you better control the data you share with third-party applications through Instagram. You can manage your connections to third party services by going to “Settings,” tapping “Security,” then tapping “Apps and Websites.” From there, you’ll have the option to remove any third-party services you no longer want connected to your Instagram account. When you remove a third-party service, they will no longer have access to new data on your account.

Identifying false information

To help us reduce the spread and reach of false information on Instagram, we work with independent third-party fact-checkers across the globe to help identify, review, and label false information. When content is rated as false or partly false by a third-party fact-checkers, we label it so people can better decide for themselves what to read, trust, and share. If something is rated false or partly false on Facebook, we automatically label identical content if it is posted on Instagram (and vice versa). When these labels are applied, they will appear to everyone around the world viewing that content – in feed, profile, stories, and direct messages.

You can also report Instagram posts you believe to be false information. To submit a report, tap “…” the upper right corner of the post, choose “it’s inappropriate” and then “false information.” These reports, along with other signals, help us to better identify and take action on potentially false information.

In addition, Instagram and Facebook recently announced partnering with The Poynter Institute to launch a new national media literacy program called the MediaWise Voter Project (#MVP). The nonpartisan project will host in-person media literacy training sessions at US college campuses, and teach young people to be prepared and better informed about the media and information they consume.

We want everyone to feel safe on Instagram and we’re committed to building tools and educating people on how to control their experience. For more information about the features we have in place to keep you safe, visit safety.