New Instagram Security Update Could Answer Social Media Scams

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Today, Instagram announced a number of updates to protect users, creators and public figures from abuse and harassment when using the app. Now, when a user blocks someone, they not only have the option to block new accounts that the individual creates, but also any other accounts they currently have.

“We want to make it as difficult as possible for someone you’ve blocked to contact you again,” the announcement reads. ā€œNow if you block someone, you also have the option to block other accounts they have or create, making it harder for them to interact with you on Instagram.ā€

In addition, the social media giant announced that it would be updating Hidden Words, a solution that filters DM requests and comments for offensive words. Hidden words are now enabled by default for all creator accounts, implementing filters for misspelled offensive terms, spam, and scams.

This update not only reduces exposure to offensive content for both users and organizations that maintain social pages on Instagram, but also helps protect them from social engineering scams.


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The answer to scams and harassment?

These updates come after Instagram announced new controls last year to filter abusive messages and make it more difficult for blocked users to create new accounts to harass users, as part of an effort to fight abuse and hate speech.

Now that the organization says it’s “adding new terms to filter message requests that may contain scams or spam,” there’s also less opportunity for cybercriminals to attack unsuspecting users.

Improved filtering features can reduce the chances of consumers and creators being the target of phishing and social engineering attacks, which have become increasingly common on social media in recent years.

Last year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found that consumers reported losing about $770 million to fraud initiated on social media ā€” accounting for 25% of all fraud that year. Investment scams in the form of fake cryptocurrency investments and romance scams topped that list.

One of the most shocking findings was that more than a third of people who said they lost money to an online romance scam in 2021 said it started on Facebook or Instagram.

“These scams often start with a seemingly harmless friend request from a stranger, followed by sweet talk and then, inevitably, a request for money,” one after of the FTC.

New filtering controls could intercept these attacks before users or organizations can be tricked into handing over money or information.

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