Quantity over Quality: the Troll Takeover of Instagram

June 26, 2013

By Elle Stanger

The recent addition of videos to Instagram seemed to appear suddenly; I hadn’t considered that the photo sharing application would deem it necessary to encroach upon the turf of Vine and Snapchat. Besides, user submitted videos on YouTube allow for much longer running time than the fifteen seconds of Instagram vids, and with better search capabilities. You can learn to cook meals, knit, do pole tricks, train your dog, or give a back massage via YouTube. And then I heard about IG videos. Ever the skeptic, my initial thought was, “Well, that seems pointless.”

More irritating to me, however, is the fact that Instagram moderators already are unable to manage the content that exists. This is evident by the amount of arguably inappropriate commentary that is allowed. I remember the first moment that I was appalled by the IG. The now-nonexistent ‘dancersofIG’ account would post photographs of ballerinas and gymnists, and being a former pointe shoe wearer myself, I would follow it. The account seemed to be a magnet for lewd comments, but I unfollowed the account after reading a variety of responses to one of a young teen girl. The photo was in black and white, taken from behind, and the girl was holding a standing split. And many of the comments were such: “I’d pound that hole’ “stretch that shit wide open” and “til she cries”.


Freedom of speech is one of the most cited liberties when it comes to being an American, and our backlogged legal system, exploitative advertising and dominating entertainment industries rely on it.  This is why TLC can show obvious pedophile porn such as Toddler’s and Tiaras on a network that ten years ago was primarily about animals and nature. The Learning Channel has discovered what it’s like to be The Lucrative Channel, because people eat this shit up faster than Honey Boo Boo with a jar of mayonnaise.

Formerly a privately-held, venture capital backed social media and mobile application development company centered around photo-sharing, the company was purchased last year by Facebook, and thus became a public company. And can choose to filter whatever they want. Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild is notorious for labeling photos of women breastfeeding their babes as ‘obscenity,’ yet allowing material like this to remain.

Elle 6.25.13 Article Photo EXTREME RAPE

I’d like to ask, how low can we go?

And while I’m certainly no prude, I understand that it is not my ability to determine what is obscene and not, yet let’s consider these implications: a meme encouraging racial stereotypes and sexual assault is determined to be less offensive than the most nutritious and necessary method of feeding an infant. Thanks a lot, Mark Z.

I recently chatted with a model recruiter to a very well known adult modeling website; their Instagram is also regularly subjected to hate speech. When I pointed out that they might consider blocking people who regularly post derogatory, racist or otherwise negative comments, she responded, “We could, but then we’d lose thousands of followers.” I had to bite my tongue to refrain from saying, “So?” It’s similar to the environment of a strip club; if the bouncers allow for the dancers to be groped, degraded and insulted, it becomes par for the course. In atmospheres where basic courtesies are enforced, then this becomes the base level of behavior, and the riff-raff will either assimilate, or leave.

In Internet situations, forums and pages where hateful discussion is not permitted, it rarely occurs. This is the concept of rape culture, where ignoring its perpetrators akin to encouraging them. It’s like the Broken Window Theory of the internet. And if you don’t get that joke, Wikipedia is only a few clicks away.

Back to Instagram. Yes, it’s free. Yes, I will continue to use it (for the time being). But I find myself having more SMH moments as time goes on. But Instagram did not need to add videos. And I didn’t want to find out that some of these IGers are just as boring when they talk as their carefully cropped, heavily filtered selfies would suggest.

Elle Stanger contributes to TitsAndSass.com, blogs and models at Suicidegirls.com as Casper Suicide, and can be found on IG as Elle Stanger. She exists in real life at Lucky Devil Lounge in Portland on Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday after 9 pm.

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