December 6, 2021

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Please Beware! Butt Dialing On Instagram Is A Real Problem!

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DMs can be a place of a, let’s say, sensitive nature. It’s where secrets are shared, gossip mongered, and, for some folks, where romantic relationships are sparked.

Those are often the sorts of conversations where you simply do not want to unexpectedly turn the chat into a phone call. But that’s what can happen, pretty easily, on Instagram. The button to dial someone is inside the DM tab for a conversation, and pretty easy to hit by accident.

A coworker shared that they’d been butt (or pocket) dialed twice in recent days. And a quick look around shows, yep, this is a Thing. It’s happening quite a bit.

Here’s a Twitter user posting a seeming butt dial from actress Mia Healey.

And here are other people detailing their experience with butt dials.

Be careful out there, because it’s not a feature you can simply turn off. And if you do accidentally butt dial someone, they will receive it exactly like a normal phone call. In a couple of test runs with my editor, we found that even though his settings have push notifications turned off for Instagram, an audio call in the app came straight through like a normal call.

Here’s how the call log looks in our DMs and a look at where the button to make an audio call is placed. Notice the video call button is imminently butt dial-able as well.

Where the butt dials happen.
Where the butt dials happen.

However, there is a way to turn off notifications for Instagram calls, if you wish to never receive a video or audio call. You have to click the three bars in the Instagram app, then click the gear icon to go into settings. From there, you click notifications, then DM push notifications, then click the video call toggle to off. Here are those steps, in pictures.

You can choose to turn off notifications for all calls off or just turn off notifications from people you don't follow. The steps move from left to right.
You can choose to turn off notifications for all calls off or just turn off notifications from people you don’t follow. The steps move from left to right.

There remains no way, however, to turn off the option of making Instagram calls. That means there remains the chance you accidentally butt dial.

To be fair, Snapchat — you know, the ethereal social platform Instagram has copied ruthlessly — might have an even worse set up for its audio calls. The phone call button — which, similarly, is placed inside DMs — is directly next to the return arrow that takes you back to the app’s homepage. It is so, so easy to hit the video or audio call button by accident. I know; I have done it.

Here's a screenshot of a group chat in Snap that's empty of messages. In the upper righthand corner, you can see how easy it may be to hit the wrong button.
Here’s a screenshot of a group chat in Snap that’s empty of messages. In the upper righthand corner, you can see how easy it may be to hit the wrong button.

I wish there were some way to totally prevent you all from butt dialing, but alas all I can suggest is be careful where you tap. And of course please make sure your screen isn’t open when you put your phone in your pocket.



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