Instagram is rolling out a feature to prevent users from getting abusive messages on Instagram. Apparently, the tool filters offensive words, phrases, and emojis in Direct Messages (DMs) on the platform.

In detail, a series of incidents, where fans subjected black players of English teams to racist insults on social networks, resulted in a large-scale action.

Specifically, the players received abusive messages on Instagram and racist emojis through their DMs. With this, the English Premier League (Premier League), the Football Association of England (FA), the Union of European Football Organizations (UEFA) – decided to arrange a three-day boycott on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Thereby, Instagram has introduced a new tool that will filter out certain words, phrases, and emojis from direct messages. This is in a bid to stop abusive messages on Instagram. Instagram is going to block accounts of users who send out hostile statements through private messages (DM).

Also, Instagram will disable new accounts created to bypass restrictions on sending messages and accounts created for sending insults. Users will now be able to automatically filter out abusive direct messages from followers. More so, allow blocking DM requests from others who don’t know if they contain certain offensive words, phrases, and emojis.

Also Read: Public Opinion – WhatsApp Changes on Its Privacy Policy.

Real Research conducted a survey to know the public perception on Instagram’s new update to tackle abuse on the platform. Nearly 80% of the respondents noted that they do have an Instagram account. What do Instagram users think about the new Instagram update? Let us find out through results obtained from the Real Research online survey application.


  • 58.07% of the respondents have received abusive or harassing texts through DM on Instagram.
  • 58.67% strongly agree with the measures implemented by Instagram against abusive communication.
  • The majority, 61.19% expressed that boycotts by athletes and sports brands can reduce abusive messages on Instagram.
  • People should be held criminally liable for persistent offensive messages and comments on social media said 49.60% of the respondents.

Have You Received Abusive or Harassing Messages on Instagram

To begin with, Real Research asked the respondents if they had Instagram accounts and 80% said ‘Yes’. Having asked this question, the survey then went on to ask if they have ever received abusive or harassing texts through direct messages on Instagram.

Notably, 58.07% answered ‘Yes’. Taking from these results there is a high percentage of people facing abuse and harassment on Instagram. On the other side of the results, 41.93% said they had never received abusive or harassing texts through DM on Instagram. However, with many people experiencing abuse and harassment on Instagram there is a need to act against that.

abusive messages on Instagram
Figure 1: Respondents that have received abusive or harassing texts on Instagram

People’s Perception on the Measures Implemented by Instagram

Drawing from the results on the Real Research online survey application, 58.67% strongly agree with the new Instagram update against abusive communication. This is in a bid to lessen cyberbullying on social media platforms.

Nearly, 60% of the respondents strongly agree with the Instagram update because the platform will prohibit the accused from sending messages to the reporter. Even more, they could even end up disabling the accused’s account. As a result, this will lessen if not end abusive texts on Instagram.

Following after, 21.24% of the respondents noted that they somewhat agree with the new Instagram update. Meanwhile, 13.53% stated that they are ‘Neutral’.

Measures implemented by Instagram
Figure 2: Respondents agree with the measures implemented by Instagram

Also, in addition, the update includes the use of Instagram comment filters. Users are now able to use the Instagram comment filters to prevent others from leaving offensive comments. This is either through words, phrases, or emojis. 48.14% of the respondents have tried this tool. Moving on, 28.55% said they have never tried the tool while 23.32% do not know about the tool.

When using this filter what kind of filter did you set? Below are the responses to the question:

Anti-Racist filters (18.29%), Anti-sexist filters (12.76%), and Anti-homophobic filters (24.99%). More so, ‘I set certain words to filter’ (15.29%), ‘I set certain phrases to filter’ (5.63%), and ‘I set certain emojis to filter’ (2.11%). Furthermore,  ‘Others’ (5.92%) and those who haven’t tried the filter are 15%.

Can BoyCotts by Athletes and Sports Brands Reduce Cyberbullying on Social Media

The majority, 61.19% strongly agree that boycotts by athletes and sports brands can reduce abusive messages on Instagram. Certainly, such actions can Tackle abuse and discrimination issues thereby lessening them.

A four-day boycott of social media happened as an attempt to tackle abuse and discrimination.

Support of the social media boycott
Figure 3: Respondents are in support of the social media boycott

On the other hand, a lesser percentage (17.88%) is not in support of the act. Meanwhile, 20.93% said ‘I don’t know’. We further went on to ask the respondents on which other platforms should also offer such updates to stop cyberbullying on social media.

Read: 59% Of Respondents Would Buy A Product Recommended By An Influencer.

Let’s get to know the results curated from the Real Research online survey application. These platforms should also make updates to filter abusive messages.

Facebook 36.54%, Twitter 14.70%, Messenger 19.77%, Snapchat 8.02%, and YouTube 7.70%.

LinkedIn 0.93%, Pinterest 0.20%, Reddit 0.10%, WhatsApp 2.27%, Tumblr 0.06, and Telegram 1.52%.

Should People be Held Criminally Liable for Persistent Offensive Messages

As a matter of fact, Instagram states that it can even ban the accused from the social media platform if found guilty. Thus, Real Research asked what the public thinks about this decision.

thoughts on new update against abusive messages on Instagram
Figure 4: Respondents’ thoughts on the new Instagram update

The majority 46.16% note that the account should be suspended until the accused is proven guilty or innocent. Furthermore, 31.41% say the accused should have something like a three-strike policy before a full ban. Notably, 10.53% state that a full ban is fair and not harsh.

In line with the above, 49.60% of the respondents say people should be held criminally liable for persistent offensive messages and comments on social media. Hence, cyberbullying on social media statistics can drop.

In conclusion, abusive messages on social media have tormented numerous people. With the new update, users are hoping they will be protected from all forms of abuse on Instagram.

Additionally, Instagram believes “nobody should have to experience that” on its platform. Therefore, making a move to stop cyberbullying on social media.


Survey TitlePublic Perception on Instagram’s New Update to Tackle Abuse on the Platform
DurationMay 14 – 21, 2021
Number of Participants250,000
DemographicsMales and females, aged 21 to 99
Participating Countries Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, American Samoa, Andorra, Angola, Antarctica, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, AzerbaijanBahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, British Indian Ocean Territory, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, China (Hong-kong), China (Macao), China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar [Burma], Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, North Korea, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Sweden, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.