After previewing the feature in July, Facebook-owned photo sharing behemoth Instagram has officially released a shadow-banning feature, called Restrict, to all of its users today.
Restrict gives Instagram users who are dealing with trolls or bullies a third option that’s not quite as obvious as reporting or blocking someone. It’s being positioned as an anti-bullying tool that designed to “quietly protect your account while still keeping an eye on a bully.”
You can restrict an account by going to their profile or swiping left on one of their comments. Once restricted, only they will see comments the that they post, and they’ll no longer be able to see when you’re active online. You won’t receive notifications when a restricted account comments on your photos, but you will be able to see that they commented, check the content of their comments, and potentially approve their comments for public viewing one at a time.
DMs, meanwhile, will automatically be sent into the Message Requests folder, and the users who are Restricted will not be able to see when you’ve read their message.
The feature is rolling out now, and should be live in your Instagram app on both iOS and Android as soon as you’ve updated to the latest version. Whether or not it will actually help to improve Instagram’s purported negative effects on mental health … that’s yet to be seen.