Instagram to blur out nude images sent to teens in DMs

  • Instagram is introducing a new nudity-protection feature in direct messages, which blurs images detected as containing nudity.
  • This feature not only protects people from seeing unwanted nudity in their direct messages (DMs), but it also protects them from scammers.
  • In January, at a Senate hearing, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologised to the families of children who had suffered online abuse on the social giant’s platform.

Instagram says it’s deploying new tools to protect young people and combat sexual extortion, including a feature that will automatically blur nudity in direct messages.

The nudity-protection feature

The social media platform said in a blog post on Thursday that it’s testing out the features as part of its campaign to fight sexual scams and other forms of “image abuse,” and to make it tougher for criminals to contact teens.

The nudity-protection feature blurs out images that are detected as containing nudity and prompt the user to “think twice before sending nude images”.

On Instagram, nudity protection is turned on by default for teens under 18 globally, and the app also shows notifications to adults encouraging them to turn on nudity protection.

Also read: Instagram’s Threads rolls out trending topics to all users in the US

Specific operations

When protection is enabled, Instagram users who receive nude photos will receive a message telling them not to be forced to respond, along with the option to block and report the sender.

“This feature is designed not only to protect people from seeing unwanted nudity in their DMs but also to protect them from scammers who may send nude images to trick people into sending their images in return,” Meta said in its announcement.

Users who try to send nude photos via private message will also see a message warning them of the dangers of sharing sensitive photos, while another warning message will prevent users from trying to forward nude photos they receive.

Meta’s previous scandal

In January, in an unusual moment at a Senate hearing, Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg apologised to the families of children who had suffered online abuse on the social giant’s platform.

Zuckerberg directly addressed parents attending the hearing who said their children suffered harassment and exploitation on Meta’s apps.

“I’m sorry for everything that you all have gone through,” Zuckerberg said. “It’s terrible. No one should have to go through the things that your families have suffered.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, the new feature will be tested in the coming weeks and is expected to be rolled out globally in the coming months.


Jennifer Yu

Jennifer Yu is an intern reporter at BTW Media covering artificial intelligence and products. She graduated from The University of Hong Kong. Send tips to

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