This will be welcome news for those who've had their Instagram account disabled.
This week, as part of Safer Internet Day, Instagram has announced the launch of a new feature which will enable users to appeal disabled account decisions in-app, direct from the log-on screen.
As you can see in the above sequence, the new process will enable those whose accounts have been disabled to request a review of the decision when they attempt to log in.
When you enter your username and password, you'll see a prompt informing you that your account will be deleted, with 30 days to appeal the decision. You then have two options - 'Download Data' to get access to all your Instagram content, or 'Request Review'.
When you tap on 'Request Review', you'll be taken to the third screen, where you'll need to enter your full name, e-mail and a reason why you think Instagram has made a mistake in disabling your account (your username will be pre-populated in the form). Instagram will then review the decision, which generally (according to the screenshots) takes up to 24 hours.
As noted, this will be good news for the many users who've had problems trying to get in touch with Instagram after having their account disabled - you can see a heap of examples of this in the replies to any tweet from Instagram announcing a new feature:
Of course, having the capacity to submit an appeal doesn't mean that Instagram will be any more likely to reinstate your account. But users will have the option to enter a request either way, which will provide at least some avenue for recourse.
In addition to this, Instagram's also adding a new way to track any reports you've submitted in-app.
As you can see in this sequence, now, in your Instagram settings, you'll be able to tap on 'Support Requests' to see a full list of any reports that you've submitted in the app. Tap on any of the specific reports and you'll be able to see further info as to where each report is within Instagram's process flow - you can see the 'In Review' green bar at the top of the screen below.
Users will also be able to tap the “More Options” button for further suggested actions to take, like muting, blocking, restricting or unfollowing the user whose content you’ve reported. Instagram is also adding an appeal option in this listing, giving users the opportunity to request a review of any decision, once established.
As noted, the additions coincide with Safer Internet Day, which prompts users and platforms to assess their online security, and ensure that they're not vulnerable to hackers and/or other negative elements. Instagram has also outlined a range of additional measures it's implemented in recent months to help keep people safe, including Restrict mode, which can help to address cyberbullying, and its new AI tools which detect potentially offensive post comments and prompt the author to reconsider their response.
Given Instagram's popularity with younger users, and its focus on aesthetics, the platform has a significant obligation to protect its users, a responsibility that Instagram has more actively worked to address in the last couple of years in particular.
Indeed, previous research has indicated that Instagram is "the worst social media network for mental health and wellbeing", with the platform contributing to higher levels of anxiety and depression, among other issues. That's why initiatives like this are important, along with Instagram's other improvements in regards to removing images depicting self-harm and even hiding like counts, in an effort to lessen that social pressure.
Instagram's new account appeals process and report tracking tools will be rolling out "over the coming weeks".