Instagram: Not Safe for Tweens And Teens, Not Safe for Brands

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With 200 millions active users claimed, brands start to see Instagram as the best platform for building out a social media presence, as explained by VentureBeat.

I am warning brands that target tweens and teens that Instagram is not a safe place for them, and that brands must be very careful of how they engage this community and how the brand engages with this platform.

With its population growing so fast, the porn problem arises. Instagram’s policy regarding porn on its site is not clear, or shall I say, pretty clear: the more users the better.

Many inappropriate one-word tags are not allowed in search such as: #sex, #sexy #fuck, #bitches, #porn #porno #wet, #shower, #popular, #boob, #boobies, #boobz, #lingerie, #naked, #nude. But you can still use the tags when you post. . . . Odd.

But, often, a longer version or even a combination of two banned tags work, such as #faketits, #gunsforsale,  #sexytimes , #fuckfriday, #mybitches, #underboob #pornkid, #pornkids (these last two show naked underaged kids), #sexylingerie, #sexynudes. The ones cited here can show up to twelve thousand of posts.

During my research, I was startled to find an app in Google Play called: InstaGirls.
The official description is:
Absolutely new application with photos porn actresses from around the world!
Sexy porn star from the social network Instagram only in our application!
Now you can not only enjoy the incredible photographs of beautiful girls, but also download
them to your device and even set it as wallpaper!
Over 1,500,000 users have already appreciated our applications.
Our archive is constantly updated with new photos of porn stars.

Other major concerns and risks are that:

  • A porn picture can pop out without a tag that is not related to porn whatsoever. The app allows up to 25 tags per post. Therefore a seemingly harmless “bunny” tag can bring some photos you don’t want tweens or teens to see. There’s a chance that Instagram will end up finding and removing hard-core porn, but how long after it has already been posted and viewed by an inappropriate audience? Hours, possibly days.
  • Officially, the app authorizes users aged only 13 and up, but it is widely known that it is one of the most used platforms by tweens (9 to 12). Obviously, Instagram doesn’t follow the policy of its owner Facebook: the hard porn is eventually found and removed but the suggestive nudes are largely allowed. The boundary between suggestive nudes and soft porn is sometime very thin. Check out the #dildo tags. . . .  Definitely not for young people!
  • Instagram implemented recently the ability to send private messages. That is a fabulous tool for sexual stalkers and perverts to initiate a contact.
  • With the above their geolocation feature, when turned on, adds further dangers by showing a precise location. What if a tween or teen post a picture that attracts sexual predators with a home or school address?

Anyone working with brands will understand why and how being involved with this platform can be destructive, potentially lethal, to a brand’s image and reputation.  At minimum, it can ruin years of work and effort.

I am not recommending brands not go on Instagram at all. But I am definitely recommending they be aware of the dangers. They should think of the possible consequences before conducting any campaign on it, work hard to remove as many risks as possible, and prepare to react swiftly if something goes wrong.

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