So, what is Instagram? Launched in 2010, Instagram is an online photo-sharing, video-sharing site and social network that allows users to capture photos and videos and apply digitally included filters and edit them and then share them via several other social networks.
With more than 100 Million Users worldwide, Instagram has several smartphone apps and was acquired by Facebook in 2012 for around One Billion Dollars.
What is Instagram ’ s List of Privacy and Security Concerns?
1- Showcasing Illicit Drugs/Indecent Photos
BBC released a report in 2013, saying that drug lords are using Instagram for showcasing their illicit drugs and selling them afterwards via IM applications. Instagram responded by blocking the hashtags used for corresponding between sellers and drug users.
A spokesman for Instagram said “Instagram has a clear set of rules about what is and isn’t allowed on the site. We encourage people who come across illegal or inappropriate content to report it to us using the built-in reporting tools next to every photo, video or comment, so we can take action.”
Several reports have come out on the use of Instagram by teens for showcasing suggestive/semi nude photos and videos. Instagram has a very clear rules page that includes the community Guidelines, in short, what is instagram ‘s safety guidelines? :
Post your own photos.
Keep your clothes on.
Also, several people and organizations have reported the use of Instagram for Cyber Bullying, (refer to #Slanegirl). And in return Instagram highlights the following RULE:
“Don’t be rude.
Instagram is a friendly place where everyone should feel safe and comfortable sharing their lives through photographs. It is not an appropriate place to abuse, attack, harass, or impersonate others. If Instagram receives valid complaints about your conduct, they will send a warning or disable your account. Alternatively, they would recommend users block all meanies & trolls to prevent further issues.”
3- Promoting Self Harm
As some users go on to use Instagram to promote their habits of self harm, Instagram has a clear precise rule and it says as follows:
“While Instagram is a place where people can share their lives with others through photographs, any account found encouraging or urging users to embrace anorexia, bulimia, or other eating disorders; or to cut, harm themselves, or commit suicide will result in a disabled account without warning. They believe that communication regarding these behaviours in order to create awareness, come together for support and to facilitate recovery is important, but that Instagram is not the place for active promotion or glorification of self-harm.”
What is Instagram ‘s List of Hidden Risks?
Users can create fake accounts that are directed at bullying – making entire albums of photos that are embarrassing to someone. The fact that accounts on Instagram are by default set to post pictures to a public forum, which means that they are viewable and searchable by anyone, anywhere. Viewers of the photos can leave comments on the pictures. This is where most of the bullying occurs, with hurtful, discriminatory, and harassing comments left for the photographer and/or people in the picture. Screenshots of text messages can be taken and easily shared. For example, a girl can says mean things about a classmate in a text message, and then take a screenshot of the text.
Furthermore, there is a geo location feature, allowing the pictures on Instagram to be tagged for geographical locations. This means a picture might not only be hit with rude comments, but the person who took and posted your child’s picture can disclose where your child was at the moment, leaving him or her even more vulnerable. Sounds scary, no?
Even though there are laws and rules against it, sometimes harassing and sexually explicit photos do get uploaded through Instagram, and the recent surveys and trends indeed do reflect that Instagram has become the new breeding ground for cyber bullying and sexual predation.