Instagram has fully released the 'Restrict' shadowban feature it first introduced as a test in July. The tool enables an Instagram user to restrict other accounts from posting content on and sending messages to their own account. As Instagram first explained this summer, Restrict is intended to limit the reach of bullies without fully blocking them, an action that may make the bullying worse.

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The philosophy behind shadowbans on Instagram is simple: many users, particularly teens, face bullying from peers they know in real life, such as classmates. Blocking a bully on Instagram may cause that bully to increase their torment of the user in real life, which is why many users avoid blocking them.

In addition, and more broadly speaking, blocking an account that is posting abusive content may simply drive the bully to create a new account after the first one is blocked. For these reasons, blocking is not always the ideal way to prevent problematic comments and messages from being directed at an account.

Restrict is a solid alternative, enabling Instagram users to instead limit an unwanted account in a way that doesn't alert the bully. Comments published by a restricted account are hidden by default and any private messages sent from the restricted account will be automatically sent to the recipient's Message Request inbox. These restricted DMs can be read, but the sender won't be alerted to the fact that their message was viewed.

Restrict is now available to all Instagram users.