Change Instagram Policies on Nude/Pornographic Posts

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While recently scrolling through Instagram’s explore page, I came across a number of posts which revealed inappropriate images of women wearing minimal amounts of clothing. As an advocate against pornography and sex/human trafficking (which online material such as this ultimately fuels the trafficking industry), my blood began to boil after seeing how these women were being portrayed. I reported several of these posts only to receive this message back: “While we reviewed the post you reported for nudity or pornography and found it does not violate our Community Guidlines, reports like yours are an important part of making Instagram a safe and welcoming place for everyone.” I will not go into great detail of these posts, but it is astonishing that Instagram allows these types of posts. Many of them can be described by the terms “showing sexual intercourse, genitals, or close-ups or fully-nude buttocks” which is some of their criteria found under the option that can be used to report a post as nudity or pornography. As a result, I wrote this letter to Instagram through their general feedback portal: 

“Dear Instagram,

I have been a fan of your app for about 5 years now. I love posting pictures with my friends and seeing what they are up to.

HOWEVER, Instagram has taken a turn for the worst. Accounts are posting inappropriate content of men and women, portraying men as lustful and women as pieces of meat. I have reported multiple accounts such as "old row" accounts which reveal pictures of women's behinds completely. I am unsure how Instagram approves the accounts and does NOT deem them as nudity/pornography.

I get it: "sex sells." However, do you realize what these images do to women and men of all ages? It rewires our brains and causes us to see relationships in different ways. A shift is created in our minds in which we don't see humans for what they are worth.

I hope you will reconsider the direction of Instagram as the direction it is going in now is ruining relationships and the minds of future generations.

Have a wonderful day!

Sincerely,

Lydia Bardo”

It takes only 30 seconds to find porn on Instagram. Many accounts that post porn are fake: they are used to pull people away from Instagram and on to pornographic websites. According to statistia.com, roughly 14.5 million users under 11 years old and 4.2 million users ages 12-17 are on the Instagram app. I have read and heard testimonies from a couple of friends how porn ruined their lives when they discovered it on their smart devices at young ages. Fortunately, our God is greater than that and has since then brought their pasts to the light and is using their voices as a guide for others struggling in the same way. 

My goal of creating this petition is to make this issue more widely known and to gain a greater chance of getting to the makers at Instagram. While an app may seem harmless, it is a portal that gives access to millions of young people who do not yet know how to handle mature topics such as these. I urge you to sign this petition to change the direction Instagram is taking. I want Instagram to reconsider the criteria for denying/allowing the type of posts users are allowed to post on the app OR to push Instagram to follow the criteria they have in place but do not seem to follow. 

Though Instagram may never see this petition, I will be overjoyed knowing that this petition has brought awareness of this issue to those who have read it. There are many easy steps we can take towards killing this issue. For Instagram users, you can filter your explore page by clicking the three little dots in the top right corner and selecting “see fewer posts like this.” Parents, I would encourage you to closely monitor the accounts your children follow and the content they see on the explore page. Maybe only allow them to be on the app on your phone when you are in the room. To those who also have a heart for this issue, I encourage you to bring awareness to this issue through all forms of social media. I had little to zero knowledge of how real this issue was until I heard about it at an anti-trafficking meeting at my university about a year and a half ago. We cannot do much about this issue if no body knows about it and if no one wants to talk about it. Let’s be in it to end it! 

To close out my petition, I’ve decided to add in a piece I wrote about a year ago after learning of the magnitude of this issue (with locations edited out for safety reasons):

“There are about 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today. The Human Trafficking industry generates a profit of approximately $150.2 billion dollars annually. Human trafficking happens everywhere. You may think it doesn't happen close to you, but it does. Less than 5 minutes from [where I attend university], a business named ******* Spa [a spa where human trafficking occurs], visible from ******* Boulevard [a main road lined with shopping and food businesses], is actually a place where people are trafficked into the industry. Get involved. Be bold. Advocate for those who don't have a voice. Get involved in a local trafficking organization, pray for those stuck in the system, and talk about sexual slavery on social media. Bring awareness. Pray not only for those who are trafficked, but for those who are trafficking. Be a light to the darkness.”

Thank you for taking time to read this post. I know this issue can be very confusing and complex, but I hope you will take the time to research and learn more about how online pornography directly links to the sex trafficking industry. Fightthenewdrug.com is a great resource for this. I hope you will take the few seconds it takes to sign the petition and pass it along to friends. Have a great day!

 



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