With over 1 billion users, Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms. Users of all ages can be found scrolling through pictures, posting comments, and sending direct messages.
Due to the popularity, easy accessibility, and opportunity for anonymity Instagram is becoming increasingly popular among sex traffickers and child predators. Director of Defend Dignity, Glendyne Gerrard said, “Instagram’s picture-based platform makes it a haven for predators to groom and sexually exploit minors.”
Three anti-sexual exploitation organizations from three different countries—Defend Dignity (Canada), the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (United States), and Collective Shout (Australia)—have partnered together to launch a campaign to “call out rampant sex trafficking, child sexual abuse grooming, as well as adult fetishization of young girls on Instagram.”
These organizations are calling for Instagram to make three vital policy improvements:
- Instagram must change its settings so that strangers cannot direct message minors.
- Instagram must fix its algorithm to proactively remove sexualizing or sexually graphic comments on minor’s photos.
- Instagram must update its reporting system so that if someone is reporting a sexual comment on a minor’s post it can be reported as such. The “harassment/bullying” selection does not capture the fact that these comments come from adults who are grooming/sexualizing/harassing a child.
“Since July, we have collected hundreds of samples of sexual, predatory comments on underage girls’ Instagram posts…By giving adults unfettered access to children and facilitating the transmission of sexual comments—including requests for sexual content—from adults to children, Instagram is complicit in the harm of underage girls,” said Lyn Kennedy, Collective Shout campaigner.
You can help protect these minors! You can encourage Instagram to improve their policies. It takes less than one minute to send an email to the Instagram Executives, and you can do so by following this link. It is time to #wakeupinstagram.
If you would like to schedule an interview, please contact Glendyne Gerrard, Director of Defend Dignity, at 647-462-1858 or Glendyne.firstname.lastname@example.org.