How to Limit Who Can Contact You on Instagram

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Over time Instagram has evolved from a photo-sharing platform to an all-in-one social network, complete with Snapchat-style stories, Tik Tok-style videos, and, of course, direct messaging.

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Having private messages on Instagram provides a convenient way to connect with friends and family, but it also means that just about anyone can reach you. If you don’t want this to happen, there are ways to control it.

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This extends to comments and likes left on your feed as well – there are more settings than you might think when it comes to controlling who is allowed to contact you on Instagram and how they can do so.

Choose: public or private

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Privacy on Instagram means less visibility into your account.

Instagram via David Neild

If your Instagram account is public, anyone on the platform can see your posts and your stories (unless the stories are just for close friends), and anyone can message you directly. Anyone can like and comment on the photos and videos in your feed, whether they’re currently following you or not.

Switch to a private account and your Instagram visibility will be much more limited. New followers must be approved by you, and only followers can see the photos, videos, and stories you post. Only subscribers can like and comment on the posts you post.

However, in terms of direct messaging, nothing changes: private profiles with their account name and profile photos can still be found in search. If someone else knows your Instagram account name, they can message it, whether your account is public or private (and whether you follow them).

To switch between a public or private account in the Instagram app, tap your account icon (bottom right), then tap the menu button (top right). Choose Settings and Confidentialityand you will see what is Private account up toggle switch at the top of the menu – use it to change the status of your account.

Protect your DMs

You have three options for message requests.

Instagram via David Neild

Open your messages in the Instagram app on your mobile device – the paper airplane icon in the top right corner – and you’ll see messages that come from people you follow or add to your close friends list. Posts from other people on Instagram appear under Requests tab

Switch to this tab to see incoming messages from people you are not necessarily related to. You have three options: Accept message (future messages from this person will go directly to your main inbox), Delete message or Block user, as well as delete the message – a little later we will explain more about blocking.

This is the standard way to handle messages sent to your mailbox. To change it open Settings screen in the Instagram app again, then select Confidentiality and Messages. You can decide whether messages from people you don’t follow are sent to Requests tab or simply not be displayed at all – and the setting may differ depending on whether this user is following you or not.

Another option on the same screen controls whether people you’re not connected with can add you to group chats on Instagram. By default, any Instagram user can add you to a group chat, but you can change this to only include people you follow.

Limit comments and mentions

You can set time limits for activity.

Instagram via David Neild

Instagram gives you some control over who can comment and like the photos and videos you post to your feed. From Settingschoose Confidentiality and Commentsand you can decide who can comment on your content: everyone, people you follow, people who follow you, or people you follow. or who follow you. You can also prevent individual users from posting comments.

A similar set of options is located in the section Mentions on the Confidentiality menu. Instagram mentions (the @ symbol after your name) can be left either Everyone, People you followor None depending on the setting you specify here. Mentions can be left in stories, comments, live videos and captions.

What you don’t get on Instagram is any way to prevent someone from liking your posts – that’s something you’ll just have to put up with unless you block the user completely. However, you can hide likes on your posts from other people. When you create a post, click Advanced settings on the last screen before boot, then enable Hide the number of likes and views for this post Toggle switch.

Finally, you can choose Restrictions from Confidentiality menu to temporarily block unwanted comments and messages from certain groups, in particular from people who do not follow you or have recently started following you. Instagram says this is to help users avoid harassment, and the ban could be enforced for up to four weeks.

Block and restrict users

You can block or restrict other users.

Instagram via David Neild

If there are certain users on Instagram that you don’t want to hear about, you can block or restrict them. The easiest way to find these options is to go to the person’s profile, tap on the three dots (top right), then select Limit or Block. These same options are also available in other parts of the Instagram interface.

If you restrict another user, they won’t be able to see when you’re online or if you’re reading their messages. New comments they leave on your posts will only be visible to you and must be manually approved before they are visible to anyone else. You will also not receive any notification of comments from the user.

Blocking takes everything a step further. Blocked users cannot mention you, tag you, or like or comment on your posts. (All existing likes and comments will be deleted.) They will not be able to send you messages or vice versa, although all previous chats will remain in your inbox until you delete them. While users won’t be notified if you restrict or block them, they may well notice that they can no longer contact you.

There is also an option to mute the sound for the people you follow. On his profile, click Nextafter Dumb: You can disable their posts or stories (or both) so they don’t show up in your various channels, so this is perfect for those who share more content than you can follow but who you don’t want to turn off.


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