I don't think Instagram went far enough, but they have gone farther than other platforms have gone. I think it is a step in the right direction. I think that-- I don't envy these platforms that have to deal with bullying because it just gets wrapped up in this free-speech conversation that is really complex. You can find someone reprehensible, and you cannot agree with what they say, but I think where the platforms struggle is in setting standards of what is okay and what is not.
Generally, what is not okay is the most vile and the most aggressive comments that nobody would say there's a gray area, too. It takes courage, I think, to step into that gray area. I think Instagram isn't doing that yet. They're not saying, "We're going to go around and start banning people who are bullying or abusive." That's not the practice so far. Again, obviously, Twitter is fucking terrible at this. Twitter just straight up doesn't care, I think, about people getting bullied on their platform. Obviously, they have- this has been a problem for years, and they've literally done nothing to address it.
I don't think Instagram cares. These features insofar, as I understand them, help to make it so that you don't see the bullying or the comments from certain people, doesn't take the next step of making sure that those people can't post those things. I think, hopefully, that is a natural progression where we can start to get serious about getting bullies, getting predators, getting people using hate speech off of these platforms, but we also have to understand that that is, in some ways, counter to these platforms business goals. They're not really sitting around thinking about, "How can we kick a lot of people off this platform and cause all this drama?"
Again, is it far enough? No. Is it something? Yes. I think that bullying is also something that's hard to-- Let's step back and look at the reality here, a lot of people that get bullied on these platforms are women, and a lot of the people setting the policy and building the products are men. I don't think a lot of men understand the reality of what it's like to have these trolls gang up on you. I had dinner with Taylor from the Atlantic recently who had one of her tweets put into a men's rights subreddit. You heard me correct. There are Reddits about men's rights.
Her tweet about air conditioning being sexist, which was just really a joke, and a pretty funny one. That tweet got dropped into one of these forums. When I looked at her tweet 12 hours after she tweeted it, it had 16,000 replies, most of them being like, "Why don't you fucking die? You dumb bitch, why don't you bring a sweater? What's wrong with you? You're just weak." It was just like-- It's crazy. Nobody should make a joke and then have 15,000 of the most vile messages sent to them. Taylor's really outspoken about how little Twitter, specifically, is doing to combat this, but I think part of the issue is that, again, a lot of this hate and vitriol is pointed towards women and the policies are created by and the products are created by men.
I don't think there's as much care or empathy or personal experience with it. I think the lack of those people actually experiencing these things make it less of a priority. I think if every time-- If the head of Instagram, the guy who runs Instagram, if every time he posted, he had 10,000 people tell him he was a piece of shit and that he should die, I think they would get really serious about bullying really quickly, but they don't, and so they don't. But I will say, again, to all my people at Instagram and Facebook who are watching, I commend you for taking a step in the right direction. It is more than most platforms have done.
- Pre-launch hype, anti-bullying on Instagram, NYT article