Monday, July 27, 2015

Sorry @Instagram. Your Reason for Banning #Curvy Is B.S. and I'm NOT Buying It!

I love Instagram!  I am an avid user of this highly visual social media platform and I will continue using it. I encourage many of my clients to use it because there is incredible opportunity for marketing and promoting their business while connecting with their customer base.  

Today, however, I have a bone to pick with Instagram and I'm going to call them out for misleading the public on why they banned the word #curvy from their search results.  I'm also challenging them to address a very real problem with their platform that's seriously harming their users.

So this morning, I hopped on Twitter to catch up on the news and noticed a friend of mine was tweeting @CBCNews.  She was making great points about reasons people are overweight and that it does not mean someone is unhealthy.  Her comments intrigued me and I was curious what instigated the conversation so I explored her comments to discover she was responding to a recent article published on July 26th by @CBCNews titled:

I didn't know the word #curvy had been banned from Social Media search results, including Instagram, so I wanted to learn more by reading the @CBCNews article.

WOW!!!! is all I can say!  The reason Instagram gave to CBC as to why they banned the keyword #curvy is full of malarkey! 

Instagram says it banned the word #curvy due to some content not following their terms of use. @CBCNews reports: "A company spokesperson told multiple news outlets that the term was banned because some content donning the hashtag violated Instagram's rules about nudity. The company does not allow users to post nude, partially nude, pornographic or sexually suggestive photos on Instagram, according to its terms of use."

OK, this is where my jaw dropped and thought to myself "WOW, this is a total load of B.S. and I'm not buying it!"  Anyone familiar with Instagram and how to search keywords knows that Instagram just played the "bullshit baffle brain game".  The reason I say this is Instagram is notorious for being one of the worst platforms for allowing its users to publish hardcore porn.

In fact, hardcore porn is so prevalent on Instagram, I warn parents in my Internet Safety courses just how vile Instagram can be, and to watch their children's exposure to porn on this platform.  I just completed a one year research study on cyberviolence and one aspect of the research focused on the accessibility of porn on the Internet, and the impact it is having on personal relationships.  From this research, we know people search for porn on Instagram using popular search terms and keywords for porn, as well as code words that the average person may not be aware of.

So Instagram, thanks for bringing the word #curvy back but I must point something out!  

You have the gall to ban #curvy from your keyword search because you claim some of the content violated your terms of use, yet you don't ban popular porn words and code words.  I can not understand why you banned a word that is used by plus size women to celebrate their body shape, yet we can take any sex word or phrases and find an incredible amount of nude, partially nude and hardcore porn all over your site.  Please explain yourself!!!

Meanwhile, since you want to uphold your policies, I have a challenge for you:  Please ban all porn words, phrases and code words from your keyword searches to remove the real content that is violating your terms of use so you can stop harming our children with your platform - take on REAL responsibility and block porn content starting by blocking porn keywords in your searches!

While you are at it, how about banning porn stars from using your platform to share their partially nude, full nude and porn pictures with their Instagram followers.

When you take these actions, then maybe we can take you a little more seriously.  Until then, you have just lost credibility on this matter as you talk out of two sides of your mouth.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Fuck Boys & Sextortion in Prince Edward Island

On July 6, 2015, the Charlottetown Chief of Police was on CBC Compass PEI discussing with Bruce Rannie sextortion in Prince Edward Island.  He explained that to date, they have dealt with three incidents of sextortion in Charlottetown, PEI.

The Chief described how perpetrators befriend their victims on social media, grooms them and builds their trust either as a friend or romantic partner.  Once the trust level has been built the perpetrator will ask for sexual images from their victims or they will capture images of their victims unknowingly by taking screen shots.  Once the perpetrators have the sexual images, they then blackmail their victims for either more sexual images or for money.  

The advice given by the Chief of Police was to not put yourself in a compromising position.  Most of us would not walk into a restaurant or store partially or fully nude and we certainly would not strip down naked in public. We need to start looking at the Internet, Social Media and Texting in the same light.  When you post nude or near nude pictures of yourself or send sexual images to someone, you are putting yourself at risk and danger of being sexually exploited and blackmailed. 

I want to share with you that through the CONNECT PEI Cyberviolence Research Project, we have encountered this right across PEI, just as the Chief explained it .... ALSO .... it is happening in our public schools among our youth.  If anyone followed my Fuck Boy post on Facebook  last week, here's further information that comes from both male / female youth in PEI.  We have learned in depth first hand information on Fuck Boys and Sextortion in Prince Edward Island.

"Fuck Boys are defined as oversexed males who are disrespectful towards women and girls and pressure females into sexual conversations, sexual encounters, and sending sexts. They have no boundaries and no limits, speak very degradingly of women and girls, and feed their f-boy tendencies by pressuring girls for nudes and sexts. Once they receive those nudes, they then blackmail girls for more images, to have sex with them and their friends, to hang out with them at parties. The consequence of not obliging is the threat of releasing and sharing the nudes with the entire school population and character assassination."

Please note, the definition of sextortion: "Sextortion refers to the broad category of sexual exploitation in which abuse of power is the means of coercion, as well as to the category of sexual exploitation in which threatened release of sexual images or information is the means of coercion."

Related: "Charlottetown police investigating extortion reports"