Harassment and cyberbullying on Instagram

Harassment and cyberbullying on Instagram

January 23rd, 2017:   New data we recently reported show that bad behavior online, including harassment and cyberbullying, are not sufficiently on the decline despite the efforts put forward by social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. All major social media platforms have introduced over time rules of online behavior with convenient reporting systems for accounts that violate these rules.

The most harassment is occurring on Facebook, followed by email, twitter, YouTube, tumblr, and Instagram among others. Interestingly, harassment and bullying usually come from people the victim knows and it more frequently targets women than men.

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The extent of harassment and bullying towards accounts owned by visible people can reach staggering levels. These accounts are usually public and have many followers. Today the Instagram account owned by 12 years old Daisy Tomlinson, sister of singer/song writer Louis Tomlinson, was the target of multiple harassing comments that can be considered particularly damaging given her very young age. This is what guidelines Instagram lists within its “Community  guidelines“:

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Of particular relevance in this case is the quote: “content that targets private individuals to degrade or shame them“.

Instagram lists a series of other Community guidelines that can be summarized as follows:

  • Share only photos and videos that you’ve taken or have the right to share.
  • Post photos and videos that are appropriate for a diverse audience.
  • Foster meaningful and genuine interactions.
  • Follow the law.
  • Respect other members of the Instagram community.
  • Maintain our supportive environment by not glorifying self-injury.
  • Be thoughtful when posting newsworthy events.

If an individual is either the victim or witnesses any violation of these rules they can file a report at this link. Deleting offensive and harassing comments is also possible as well as blocking the offenders’ accounts.

Recently Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and craigconnects, Rad Campaign, and Lincoln Park Strategies, had this to say regarding online bad behavior: “Social media networks are not being very successful stopping this problem from the top-down, but they can’t do it alone. It’s up to all of us as users to do our part to report bad actors and to encourage civility.” Thus, a better online environment starts with each one of us.

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