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Instagram tests new Limits feature to protect against harassment

The feature lets users put a temporary halt to incoming interactions when they're feeling targeted or at risk.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Citing a "wave of racism" in the wake of England's loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 soccer championship, which saw three Black players from England's team facing immediate harassment both online and off, Instagram head Adam Mosseri took to the platform to announce a new feature aimed at protecting against the trolls. Called Limits, the feature lets users temporarily pause incoming interactions if they're feeling targeted.  

"Racism and hate speech have no place on Instagram," Mossieri explained in a roughly three-minute video posted Thursday. "People need to feel comfortable. They need to feel safe expressing themselves if they're going to use Instagram, and for the whole thing to work."

To that end, Mosseri says, Instagram is pursuing two goals with the new feature: first, to reduce the amount of harassment on the platform as much as possible, and second, to provide tools that the targets of harassment can use to protect themselves.

"We know that people sometimes are in temporary moments of real risk and pain, and we want to give them tools to protect themselves in those situations," Mosseri said.

Instagram's Limits feature is currently being tested in select countries ahead of a potential wider rollout. Meanwhile, Mosseri said there's more work to be done, both in terms of reducing hate speech on the platform, and enabling users to shield themselves from it.

"Expect to hear more from us on both fronts in the months to come," he said.