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Restricting Someone on Instagram: What It Means and How It Works

Published August 10, 2023

With millions of people using Instagram, it’s safe to say that you can run into all sorts of individuals on the platform. And sometimes, you may not want to engage with all of your followers for a variety of reasons. It’s not that they’re necessarily being annoying or obnoxious, so you don’t want to actually block them entirely. You just want some space for yourself, free from comments and DMs.

Fortunately, Instagram has measures in place that can help you get some peace of mind. One such measure was introduced in 2019, and it’s called restricting accounts.

In this article, you’ll learn what exactly it means to restrict someone and how it compares to other similar features that keep people at a good digital distance from your Instagram page. Furthermore, you’ll also learn how you can apply the restricting feature to anyone.

What Is Restricting?

When you restrict someone’s profile, you’re not exactly preventing them from commenting on your posts or tagging you, nor are you limiting them from DM-ing you. They can technically still post comments on your content, tag you, and even clearly see everything you post, from your stories to images and videos. However, their replies, comments, messages, etc., will be hidden from both you and your followers.

In a sense, restricting is similar to shadowbanning. The individual you have restricted will think that they’re engaging with you but won’t realize that they are essentially shouting into the proverbial void.

In addition to all of the above, the restricted user will not be able to see whether you’ve read their messages or not. Nor will they see if you’re currently online. It’s an effective way of confusing them into leaving you alone. 

Restricting, Blocking, and Muting: What’s the Difference?

Restricting may seem like blocking or muting, and to an extent, there are overlaps between these categories. However, there are also multiple key differences, so let’s go over them in more detail.

First, we’ll discuss blocking. When you block someone on Instagram, they can recognize it through these telltale signs:

  • Your Instagram profile is hidden from them entirely.
  • They cannot comment on your posts.
  • They cannot send a direct message to you, and vice versa.
  • You can’t be mentioned or tagged by the blocked user.

To put it simply, when a block is in place, the user has no direct way of reaching you other than making an entirely new account. Restricted users can, for example, still DM a user, but their messages will go to the Requests folder.

Muting is, on the other hand, a bit of the opposite of blocking or restricting. Rather than making yourself unavailable to the user, you’re making them unavailable to you.

What exactly does that mean? Well, when you mute a person, it’s you who can’t see what they have to post. In other words, their stories, tags, posts, reposts, etc., will be completely invisible to you. In a sense, it’s like unfollowing someone with a few extra steps.

One detail that makes muting and restricting similar is the fact that the user you’ve picked has no idea that they are either restricted or muted. With blocking, they can pretty much figure it out. But with the other two, they still appear as if they can post or reply to you.

How to Restrict Someone on Instagram in 2023

You can have a user restricted on Instagram using three different methods: from their profile, through your account settings, or directly via comments. Here’s how it works if you want to do it from their profile:

  • Go to their page,
  • Tap on the 3-dot menu in the top-right corner of the screen,
  • Pick the Restrict option.

If you aim to do it via your account settings, the procedure is as follows:

  • Tap the 3-dot icon on your profile page,
  • Go to Settings,
  • Tap Privacy,
  • Tap Restricted accounts,
  • Search for the specific account you want to restrict,
  • Tap the Restrict option.

Finally, this is how you restrict someone from the comments:

  • If you’re an Android user, tap and hold the comment from the user you want to restrict, then pick the information icon (an exclamation mark in a bubble) and choose the Restrict option.
  • iOS users need to swipe left on the user’s comment, then tap on the aforementioned information icon and choose Restrict. 

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Written By:
Jessica is a writer who specializes in social media, marketing, and digital strategy. She is a graduate of Antioch College and earned her MBA at Boston College’s Carroll Graduate School of Management, specializing in STEM Management. Her work has been published in numerous academic journals and mainstream publications. She lives in New England with her husband, two children, and three dogs.
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