A guide to Instagram community guidelines and policies

Now that we’ve evaluated why the web is full of trolls and everyone on the internet is so angry, and we’ve gone through the top tips for handling web hate, I wanted to go into the details of managing InstaHate if it comes your way.

There are Terms and Conditions with every app you download, and in social media, there are always standards called Community Guidelines. As a result, when you encounter some of that vicious graffiti on your social walls, here are some of the options you have moving forward:

  • If someone is impersonating you, you can report it directly within the app. They will request information from you, possibly including a photo of your government issued ID. Never let someone steal your identity online. Keep sensitive and personal information private and if you see someone impersonating you online, do not wait to take action. We have had clients that this has happened to and have had to take investigative measures to eliminate the account.
  • If someone has set up an account based solely on the purpose of spreading hate, report them immediately. Feel free to employ your tribe to help, but accounts are reviewed based on whether or not they violate community guidelines, not based on how many people have reported an account. But I say, heck, it doesn’t hurt!
  • Don’t let fear stop you from reporting any evil you come across; personally, I don’t ever want to see vile, hate-filled, disgusting content on my Instagram feed, so I consider it a blessing if we can report all the trolls!
  • Once you’ve reported a user, block them. When you block someone, they can’t see your profile or posts. People are not notified when you block someone, so if it gets to that point, block away!
  • You can also report abusive messages that are sent to you with Instagram Direct by tapping and holding the message, then selecting Report.

Now, even with the rules and regulations, you may find content that you don’t like but isn’t considered a violation of Community Guidelines. In that case, unfollow or block the person who posted it. If there’s something you don’t like in a comment on one of your posts, delete the comment. Don’t spread your own brand of hate – if you don’t like it, don’t follow it. If someone is promoting values that you find disgraceful, unfollow them, block them, unfriend them, or remove them. It sounds like common sense, but I think we all know that common sense is remarkably UNCOMMON. 

If the abuse feels like it extends above and beyond what can possibly seem safe, it might be worth sending to local law enforcement. Instagram’s official policy is that when arguments go beyond personal conflict and turn into a “credible threat” online or offline, it’s time to bring in the experts in law enforcement as they are in the best position to assess the threat and intervene or help as necessary.

A final note on Instagram’s community guidelines:

Strictly speaking, Instagram does not allow nudity, however as a visual medium, there are always issues relating to Instagram nudity, what is considered artistic, what is allowed, what isn’t, whether the rules are sexist or not, etc. I’ve read a lot of articles on the topic and fundamentally, it boils down to the fact that Instagram is being marketed as a family-friendly app. It’s an app that is meant for users aged 13+; if it allowed nudity (such as those you see with the #freethenipple hashtag), it would have to raise the age on Instagram app downloads to 17+. According to recent research, 52% of teens who use the internet (aged 13-17) are on Instagram. Think about that: half of the teenagers you meet are using Instagram. So, if you think about it from Instagram’s perspective, by allowing nudity, they’d be cutting off a huge chunk of their user base, which is just bad business. The Community Guidelines are there for a reason.

If you find you’re having problems with internet hate, trolls, or similar problems, please reach out to us for a free consultation and we’d be glad to help however we can.

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