The rise of Instagram Influencers and other social media stars does not really surprise me. I grew up aware of people who were “famous for being famous,” who kept themselves in the public eye by appearing on magazine covers, gossip columns, talk shows, and variety specials. But the social media machines that drive their success are also the engines for bullying and abuse, and research shows that social media platforms are negatively affecting our well-being. This summer, Instagram launched tests to hide posts “Like” counts, and prompt commenters when their text is “mean-spirited.” This week, other platforms began testing these and other measures to improve the atmosphere.
- Instagram Head Adam Mosseri Discusses App’s New Features Meant To Fight Bullying [NPR] “The idea with making like counts private is to try and depressurize the experience a bit. It can sometimes feel like a popularity contest.”
- Facebook will test hiding ‘Likes’ on its own site [Engadget] “With its latest test, the company’s now hoping it help it create a healthier atmosphere all around, on its site and Instagram — although it does present a problem for social media influencers, many of whom have built business models based entirely around Likes and the clout that comes with them.”
- Twitter launches its controversial ‘Hide Replies’ feature in the US and Japan [TechCrunch] “People who come into a conversation to cause drama, make inappropriate remarks or bully and abuse others won’t have their voices heard by the majority of the conversation’s participants. Only those who choose to view the hidden replies will see those posts.”
- Reddit has broadened its anti-harassment rules and banned a major incel forum [The Verge]”Today’s changes, according to the Reddit post, are meant to stop users from sticking to the letter of anti-harassment rules but breaking the spirit of them. As Reddit admits, that’s inevitably going to create ambiguity, so their effectiveness will depend on how well administrators address each difficult case.”
From the Ohio Web Library:
- Mehari, K. R., et al. “Cyberbullying Prevention: Insight and Recommendations from Youths, Parents, and Paediatricians.” Child: Care, Health & Development, vol. 44, no. 4, July 2018, pp. 616–622.
- Roberts, Molly. “An Instagram Influencer’s Obsessing Meltdown.” Washington Post, The, 2019 Spring 9AD.
- “It’s a Dirty, Damaging Job Trying to Clean up the Internet.” Sunday Times, The, Mar. 2019, p. 15.