Instagram Safety Guide

  1. Instagram's Policies
    1. What type of content is not allowed on Instagram?
    2. How does Instagram respond to online harassment?
    3. What should I do if someone is posting or sending me abusive content on Instagram?
  2. Report on Instagram
    1. How do I report a post or profile for abuse on Instagram?
    2. How do I report a comment on Instagram?
    3. Are my reports kept confidential?
    4. How can I report a message that was sent to me?
    5. Are there any other alternatives to report abuse on Instagram?
    6. If I do not have an Instagram account, can I report abuse on the platform?
  3. Protect your privacy
    1. What can I do if someone is impersonating me on Instagram?
    2. Can I obtain information about someone’s Instagram account?
    3. What should I do if someone has posted my private information on Instagram?
    4. What should I do if I suspect my Instagram account has been hacked?
    5. What should I do if someone is threatening to share things I want to keep private (example: photos or videos)?
  4. Block on Instagram
    1. How can I block someone on Instagram?
    2. What happens when I block someone on Instagram?
  5. Control Your Comments
    1. How do I block someone from commenting on my Instagram photos and videos and what happens after that?
    2. What happens if I restrict someone on Instagram and how can I do it?
    3. How can I restrict multiple people from my comments?
    4. How do I filter out comments I don't want to appear on my posts on Instagram?
    5. How do I turn comments on or off for my Instagram posts?
    6. How can I delete comments in bulk?
    7. Is it possible to amplify and encourage positive interactions on Instagram?
    8. How can I manage who can tag or mention me on Instagram?
  6. Additional Resources
    1. What resources does Instagram offer for targets of online harassment?

  1. Instagram's Policies

    1. What type of content is not allowed on Instagram?

      Instagram does not allow “content that contains credible threats or hate speech, content that targets private individuals to degrade or shame them, personal information meant to blackmail or harass someone, and repeated unwanted messages”. In its policies, Instagram highlights that they allow “stronger conversations around people who are featured in the news or have a large public audience due to their profession or chosen activities”.

      Instagram also bans violence or attacks based on race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, disabilities, or diseases. Just like Facebook, sharing and re-sharing posts of certain abusive contents may be allowed if it is clear that the purpose is “to condemn or draw attention to bullying and harassment”.

      (See what other social media platforms do to combat online harassment here)

    2. How does Instagram respond to online harassment?

      Like other social media platforms, Instagram encourages users to report abusive behaviors. Teams of moderators around the world review these reports and decide if the content doesn’t meet their guidelines and needs to be removed (See more in the following questions). Instagram has also used artificial intelligence to detect bullying and other types of harmful content in comments, photos and videos. In 2019, Instagram announced a feature powered by AI “that notifies people when their comment may be considered offensive before it’s posted”. (See this guide to learn more)

    3. What should I do if someone is posting or sending me abusive content on Instagram?

      If someone is harassing you on Instagram or if you see something that you think may violate their guidelines, you should first document and take screenshots of the posts. Then you could file a report on the platform (see next questions) and consider other options like unfollowing or blocking the person who posted it.

      You should also ask your friends, family, or communities to help you report abusive behavior. You could rally a community publicly (public post or comment) or privately (via closed group).

      (Learn more about some of the steps you should take if you are experiencing online harassment)

  2. Report on Instagram

    1. How do I report a post or profile for abuse on Instagram?

      If you have an Instagram account, you can report abuse or anything else that doesn't follow Instagram Community Guidelines from within the app.

      To report a post:

      1. Tap ⋯ (iOS) or ⋮ (Android) above the post.
      2. Tap Report.
      3. Follow the on-screen instructions.

      To report a profile:

      1. Tap ⋯ (iOS) or ⋮ (Android) in the top right of the profile.
      2. Tap Report.
      3. Follow the on-screen instructions.

      You could also send reports using Instagram on the web. To report someone's account, go to their profile and click ⋯ next to their username. Select Report user. Then click the type of account you want to report and follow the on-screen instructions. To report a post, click ⋯ in the top right of the post. Then click Report inappropriate and follow the on-screen instructions.

    2. How do I report a comment on Instagram?

      1. Tap the speech ballon icon below the post.
      2. If you have an iPhone, swipe left over the comment, and if you have an Android phone tap and hold the comment you'd like to report.
      3. Tap the exclamation point icon.
      4. Tap Spam or Scam or Abusive Content or Report this comment.
      5. Select an option for why the comment is abusive.

      You could also select mute and restrict or simply eliminate the comment.

    3. Are my reports kept confidential?

    4. How can I report a message that was sent to me?

      You can report abusive photos, videos, and messages that are sent to you with Instagram Direct:

      1. Open the conversation in the Instagram app.
      2. Tap and hold the individual message you'd like to report.
      3. Tap Report.
      4. Select a reason for why you're reporting the message and then tap Report.

      Instagram also mentions that if you'd like to report a post from Feed that was sent to you with Instagram Direct, you can tap the post and report it.

    5. Are there any other alternatives to report abuse on Instagram?

      If you want to report any content intended to bully or harass someone, you could also file a report using this form. You will have to provide as many details as possible to help the platform review the issue.

    6. If I do not have an Instagram account, can I report abuse on the platform?

      Yes, if you don't have an Instagram account, you can report abuse, spam or anything else by using this form. You may need to provide links, usernames, and descriptions of the content.

      Find out more about your legal rights and remedies under both federal and state law here

  3. Protect your privacy

    1. What can I do if someone is impersonating me on Instagram?

      If someone created an account pretending to be you, you should report it to Instagram as soon as possible. If you have an Instagram account, you can report it from within the app, or by filling out this form. If you don't have an Instagram account, you could fill out this form.

      If you are being impersonated, it could be a good idea to alert your contacts on social media, however, don’t tag the abuser or repost their posts, instead, you could just share a screenshot of the account.

      Keep in mind Instagram will only respond to reports from the person who's being impersonated or a representative of the person who's being impersonated (example: a parent). You will need to submit a photo of your government-issued ID

    2. Can I obtain information about someone’s Instagram account?

      Instagram highlights in its policies that

      “US federal law doesn't allow private parties to obtain account content (example: comments, photos and so on) from providers like Instagram”.

      Instagram

      “may provide reasonably available basic subscriber information (not content), if any, only where the requested information is indispensable to a case and not within a party’s possession upon personal service of a valid subpoena or court order and after notice to affected account holders”.

      “Your subpoena or Court order must be directed to the entity mentioned in the terms of service that are applicable to your use of the Instagram service (i.e. Facebook Ireland or Facebook, Inc., depending on where you are domiciled meaning if serving the subpoena on Facebook, Inc., the subpoena must be a valid federal, California or California domesticated subpoena, addressed to and served on Facebook, Inc. If serving Facebook Ireland Limited, the subpoena or court order must be addressed to and served on Facebook Ireland Limited.”
    3. What should I do if someone has posted my private information on Instagram?

      If you believe a photo or video violates your privacy, you can report it to Instagram by filling out this form. The reported content needs to involve you, your child (under 13) or another person for whom you're the legal representative or guardian. Instagram says that photos or videos involving anyone else will need to be reported by the individual themselves.

      It's important to note that Instagram only takes action on private information “if it's associated with the person reporting it or if they receive documentation that the reporter is authorized to act on behalf of the person whose private information has been posted”.

      If someone is posting personal information, you could also check if that data is publicly available online by using “people finder” websites like Spokeo, Anywho.com and Intelius. You can also set up alerts for yourself using Google Alerts; set up alerts for your full name, as well as any social media handles that you use. Finally, consider doing a reverse image search to find out if a photo has been posted on the web.

      (Learn more about how to de-dox yourself)

    4. What should I do if I suspect my Instagram account has been hacked?

      If you think your account has been hacked or taken over, Instagram recommends you take the following actions:

      • Check your email account for a message from Instagram

      If you received an email from Instagram letting you know that your email address was changed, you may be able to undo this by using the revert this change option in that message. If additional information was also changed (example: your password), and you're unable to change back your email address, you should report the account.

      To report a hacked account on Instagram:

      On Android:

      1. On the login screen, tap Get help signing in below Log In.
      2. Enter your username, email, or phone number, then tap Next. Learn more about what you can do if you don't know your username.
      3. Tap Need more help? then follow the on-screen instructions.

      On iOS:

      1. On the login screen, tap Forgot password?.
      2. Tap Need more help? below the Next button and follow the on-screen instructions.

      Be sure to enter a secure email address that only you can access. Once you've submitted your request, be on the lookout for an email from Instagram with next steps.

      Keep in mind:

      Once you submit your request, you should receive an auto-response email from the Security Team at Instagram asking you to help them verify your identity. You'll be asked for one or both of the following:

      • A photo of yourself holding a paper with a handwritten code we've provided you.
      • The email address or phone number you signed up with and the type of device you used at the time of sign up (example: iPhone, Android, iPad, other).

      Once you complete these steps, Instagram will send you specific instructions to recover your account at the secure email address you provided.

      Get a login link sent to your email address or phone number

      You can request that Instagram send a login link to your email address or phone number.

      To request a login link:

      1. On the login screen, tap Get help signing in (Android) or Forgot password? (iOS).
      2. Next, choose either your email address or phone number to have the login link sent to and then tap Next.
      3. Once you receive the login link, follow the on-screen instructions.

      If you're still able to log into your Instagram account, here are some things you can do to help keep your account secure:

      See this video to learn how to activate the two-factor authentication:

      (In our Technical Safety Guide you will find useful information like how to set up the two-factor authentication and make your passwords stronger)
    5. What should I do if someone is threatening to share things I want to keep private (example: photos or videos)?

      Instagram recommends taking the following steps:

      • Contact local law enforcement and report this to them.
      • Report this person to Instagram.
      • Block this person.

      If you're under 18:

      • Talk with a parent or other adult you trust to help you think through what to do.
      • Contact a crisis hotline or chat service. These can be found all over the US and in many other countries. Crisis lines can also often refer you to a victim advocate or other legal adviser near you. In the US, you can search for one by zip code at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You could also call the National Organization for Victim Assistance at 1-800-TRY-NOVA/800-879-6682 or go to www.trynova.org.
      • Contact a legal aid society or organization near you for free advice

      (Check out our Know your Rights section, where we will walk you through some key definitions you might need when talking to a lawyer and/or law enforcement, what federal and state laws are there to keep you safe, as well as what to expect if you go to the police)

  4. Block on Instagram

    1. How can I block someone on Instagram?

      1. Tap their username to go to their profile.
      2. Tap ⋯ (iOS/computer) or ⋮ (Android) in the top right.
      3. Tap Block/Unblock (iOS/Android) or Block/Unblock this user (computer).
      4. Tap Block/Unblock again to confirm.
    2. What Happens When I Block

      When you block someone, that person won't be able to find your profile, posts or stories. Keep in mind that blocking can mask the threats and make it harder to determine the risk you're facing, however it will help you to restrict your interaction with the abuser if you are being constantly attacked or feeling overwhelmed.

      Here is what happens after you block someone on Instagram:

      Likes and comments

      • Their likes and comments will be removed from your photos and videos.
      • People that you block can still see your likes and comments on posts that were shared by public accounts or accounts they follow.

      Mentions and tags

      • They won't be able to mention your username or tag you.
      • If you block someone and then change your username, they won't be able to mention or tag you unless they know your new username.

      Direct

      • Your messaging threads with them will remain in your Direct inbox, but you won't be able to message them.
      • If you're in a group message with someone you've blocked, you'll get a dialog asking whether you want to stay in the group or leave. If you choose to stay in the group, you'll be able to see messages from the person you blocked in the group.
      • If the person you blocked sends you any messages in Direct, you won't receive those messages, and they won't be delivered later if you unblock them.
      • After you block someone, they won't be able to join a room you create if they're logged in to their Instagram account.

      If you don't want to block someone, you can remove them as a follower or block them from commenting on your photos and videos. People aren't notified when you block them.

  5. Control Your Comments

    1. How do I block someone from commenting on my Instagram photos and videos and what happens after that?

      When you block someone from commenting, they can still view your photos and videos. Any new comments from them won’t be visible to anyone else except for them.

      To block someone from commenting on your photos and videos:

      1. Go to your profile and tap  .
      2. Tap Settings.
      3. Tap Privacy > Comments.
      4. Next to Block Comments From, tap People.
      5. Enter the name of the person you want to block, then tap Block next to their name.
    2. What happens if I restrict someone on Instagram and how can I do it?

      If you are reluctant to block or unfollow your harasser (either because you want to track the threat or because you feel that by doing that you can escalate the situation), you can restrict someone without notifying them.

      Here are the actions taken by Instagram if you restrict someone:

      • They won’t be able to see when you’re online or if you’ve read their messages.
      • Their new comments on your posts will only be visible to that person, and you can choose to see the comment by tapping See Comment. If you want others to be able to see their comment, you can tap Approve > Approve, or you can delete it or ignore it.
      • You won’t receive any notifications for future comments from that person.

      There are multiple ways to restrict someone:

      • Restrict someone through Direct
      • Restrict or unrestrict someone through a comment
      • Restrict or unrestrict someone through settings
      • Restrict or unrestrict someone through their profile

      Find out more about these methods here.

    3. How can I restrict multiple people from my comments?

      You could delete multiple comments, block and restrict multiple accounts at the same time on your Instagram posts.

      From the iOS Instagram app

      1. Tap View all comments below your post.
      2. Tap in the top right, then tap Manage Comments.
      3. Select all the comments you want to manage.
      4. From here, you can:
        • Tap Delete in the bottom left, then tap Delete Comments.
        • Tap More Options in the bottom right > Block Accounts > Block Accounts.
        • Tap More Options in the bottom right > Restrict Accounts > Restrict Accounts.

      From the Android Instagram app

      1. Tap View all comments below your post.
      2. Select all the comments you want to manage.
      3. From here, you can:
        • Tap in the top right to delete the comments.
        • Tap ⋮ in the top right > Block Accounts > Block Accounts.
        • Tap ⋮ in the top right > Restrict Accounts > Restrict Accounts.
    4. How do I filter out comments I don't want to appear on my posts on Instagram?

      According to Instagram,

      “comments that may be inappropriate, offensive or bullying are automatically filtered out from your posts, stories and live videos. Comments are filtered automatically by default, but you can always change this setting”.

      You can activate this option by following these steps:

      1. Go to your profile and tap  .
      2. Tap Settings.
      3. Tap Privacy > Comments.
      4. Tap next to Hide Offensive Comments to turn it on.

      You can also turn on a keyword filter to hide comments that contain specific words, phrases, numbers or emoji that you'd like to avoid.

      1. Go to your profile and tap  .
      2. Tap Settings.
      3. Tap Privacy > Comments.comment w
      4. Tap next to Manual Filter to turn it on.
      5. Enter specific words, phrases, numbers or emoji in the text box to filter out comments.

      Note:

      “When you turn on comment filtering, it’s applied to both new and existing comments on your posts. When you turn off comment filtering, filtered comments on your posts will be restored”.

      Keep in mind that you can also block comments from a specific profile. Furthermore, in October 2020, Instagram started testing a new feature that automatically hides comments similar to others that have been reported. You can tap “View Hidden Comments” to see the content that was hidden.

      Comment warning is a feature powered by AI that notifies people when their comment may be considered offensive before it’s posted. According to Instagram,

      “this intervention gives people a chance to reflect and undo their comment and prevents the recipient from receiving the harmful comment notification. From early tests of this feature, we have found that it encourages some people to undo their comment and share something less hurtful once they have had a chance to reflect”.
    5. How do I turn comments on or off for my Instagram posts?

      You can turn off commenting to prevent people from commenting on an individual post. When you turn off commenting, any comments that are currently on your post will be hidden.

      • Tap ⋯ (iPhone) or ⋮ (Android) above your post.
      • Select Turn Off Commenting or Turn On Commenting.

      You can also turn off commenting for a post before you share it. On the screen where you add a caption or location to your post, tap Advanced Settings, then tap Turn Off Commenting.

      If you turn commenting back on for a post, previous comments will be restored and people will be able to comment again.

    6. How can I delete comments in bulk?

      On iOS, tap on a comment and then choose the dotted icon in the top right corner. Select Manage Comments and choose up to 25 comments to delete at once. You can also tap More Options to block or restrict accounts in bulk. According to Instagram, “to block or restrict accounts on Android, press and hold on a comment, tap the dotted icon and select Block or Restrict”.

    7. Is it possible to amplify and encourage positive interactions on Instagram?

      The feature Pinned Comment allows you to pin a select number of comments to the top of your comments thread. This feature gives you a way to set the tone for your account and amplify positive comments.

    8. How can I manage who can tag or mention me on Instagram?

      You can choose whether you want everyone, only people you follow or no one to be able to tag you in a comment, caption or Story. Go to settings, tap Privacy and in Interactions choose who can mention you.

  6. Additional Resources