Instagram is launching a safety feature designed to help protect users from receiving unwanted images and videos in their direct messages. The platform began testing the new feature in June.
Instagram users have always been able to send an unlimited number of message requests, but moving forward, users will only be able to send a one-message invite to users they do not follow before they are able to begin a chat.
The message must also be text-based, which cuts out the possibility of sending and receiving inappropriate photos, videos and voice messages from strangers.
Users must then accept another user's request to chat before they are able to communicate further.
“We want people to feel confident and in control when they open their inbox,” Cindy Southworth, Meta’s head of women’s safety, says in a statement. “That’s why we’re testing new features that mean people can’t receive images, videos or multiple messages from someone they don’t follow, until they’ve accepted the request to chat.”
Meta makes it clear that the new feature has been put in place particularly to protect female users from receiving offensive content including unsolicited nudes in their messages. Although younger users’ safety has also been an issue that the social giant has spent the past year focusing on by rolling out new parental controls on both Instagram and Messenger, which offer parents deeper insight into what their child is doing on either app.