With over 2 billion monthly active users, Instagram has become a key platform for personal branding, business marketing, and social networking. However, with great connectivity comes challenges in controlling your online interactions. Unwanted direct messages, negative comments, and even harassment can cause social media to feel more stressful than fun.
Fortunately, Instagram provides users with abilities to set boundaries online. Blocking and restricting accounts allow you to filter out unwelcome engagement. As an entrepreneurship consultant who advises small business clients on social media best practices, I often coach people on reclaiming control of their Instagram experience.
In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll provide expert advice on when and how to block or restrict accounts on Instagram in 2023.
Key Statistics on Blocking Accounts
- Over 50% of Instagram users have blocked an account before
- Accounts most likely to be blocked include ex-partners, former friends, colleagues, and online bullies
- 63% of users feel blocking improved their Instagram experience
Blocking allows you to filter out accounts so they:
- Cannot view your posts or stories
- Are removed from your followers list
- Cannot message you or comment
When Should You Block Someone on Instagram?
There are a few key cases when blocking can help improve your Instagram experience:
- Ex-partners checking in on you too often
- Online bullies and harassers making inappropriate comments
- Colleagues or acquaintances overstepping professional boundaries
- Spam or bot accounts constantly engaging with your profile
Use your best judgement based on your comfort levels and the nature of the unwanted interactions.
If you still want to allow some visibility without direct engagements, restricting accounts is an alternative approach we‘ll cover later.
How to Block Accounts on Instagram
Blocking an Instagram account completely cuts off their access to your profile and prevents any direct interactions. Here are the steps to block both on mobile and desktop:
Blocking on the Instagram Mobile App
- Navigate to the profile page of the account you wish to block
- Tap the three dots in the upper right corner
- Select Block from the menu
- Confirm the block on the popup
Once blocked, the account will no longer be able to access your profile or content.
Blocking on the Instagram Website
- Visit the profile page of the account you want to block
- Click the three dots menu next to Follow/Message
- Choose Block
- Click Block again on the confirmation popup
Note: On desktop, you can only block the specific account you visit. The user could still access your profile from secondary accounts. Blocking on mobile prevents all of that user‘s accounts from engaging.
Blocking vs. Restricting vs. Muting
In addition to outright blocking accounts, Instagram provides more nuanced options to control interactions:
|Completely cuts off user access and interactions
|Dealing with harassment, bullying, dangerous contacts or extreme negativity
|Allows user access but hides their comments/messages
|Managing acquaintances overstepping boundaries or colleague interactions
|Stops seeing someone‘s posts but allows interactions
|Reducing irrelevant content rather than limiting a relationship
Restricting accounts, the middle-ground option, can help quietly filter unwanted comments and messages without alerting the user or cutting them off fully. This makes it ideal for acquaintances, distant family and friends, co-workers, etc. Their existing comments will also be hidden.
On the other hand, muting accounts simply stops their content from appearing in your main feeds. But it allows direct interactions still. Use muting for cutting down irrelevant posts rather than limiting a relationship fully.
Checking If You‘ve Been Blocked by Another User
Wondering if someone else took the initiative to block you? Checking whether you‘ve been blocked on Instagram takes some sleuthing skills.
Some signs a user may have blocked you:
- Their account doesn‘t appear in Search anymore
- Visiting their profile directly says “User not found”
- Your conversations have disappeared
- Their profile changed to private and removed you as a follower
These methods can help confirm a block:
- Searching their @ handle brings no results
- Logging out of Instagram allows you to view their profile while logged-in does not
If the profile just went private, try reaching out directly to resolve the situation. But disappearing messaged and conversations indicate you’ve likely been blocked.
Unblocking Accounts on Instagram
If you change your mind later, you can easily revoke blocks by:
- Going to your profile
- Clicking Menu > Settings > Privacy > Blocked Accounts
- Tapping “Unblock” next to any user
When you unblock someone, they’ll be able to find and follow you again or send messages if they choose. But Instagram does not notify users when you block or unblock them.
Resolving Two-Way Blocks
In some cases, a user you blocked also blocked you, preventing either profile from being viewed. Fix this by:
- Sending them a direct message from a secondary account
- Visiting their profile from the message
- Tapping unblock
If direct messaging fails, try reaching out on another social platform like Facebook to resolve the situation.
Best Practices for Boundaries Online
While blocking gives you control over unwelcome interactions, also reflect on setting clear boundaries in online spaces:
- Evaluate your comfort level honestly before accepting follow requests
- Use private accounts and limited Close Friends stories access to establish boundaries gently over time
- Disable activity status and read receipts in your settings
- Create alt "Finsta" accounts for different audiences
Proactively muting accounts that irritate you or limiting who can message you directly can prevent many issues down the road.
Take Control of Your Instagram Experience
I hope this guide has equipped you to take control of your Instagram experience by blocking, restricting, and muting accounts as needed. Stop letting unwelcome followers, bullying comments and message overwhelm your use.
Regain your peace of mind and curate an Instagram feed aligned with your comfort levels by establishing online boundaries. You define what types of interactions are OK – block and restrict liberally until your social media feels fun again.
Let me know if have any other questions on improving your small business’ Instagram presence and engagement!