Trolls force Instagram to block #SandraBland

Say Her Name little girl
When #SandraBland started trending heavily on Instagram — the hashtag has accumulated more than 246,000 posts — some people began posting  racist, violent and threatening comments. To give the company time to sort through the posts and decide which violated Instagram’s community guidelines, it “temporarily restrict[ed]” images in the hashtag’s “Most Recent” gallery until moderators could catch up.

“Content in the ‘Most Recent’ section of a hashtag can be abused because the photos and videos that appear in that section are highly visible,” an Instagram spokesman wrote in a statement to The Huffington Post. After a 24-hour block, Instagram’s moderators caught up, and the hashtag started working normally around 10 a.m. Pacific time.


via Instagram Restricted Sandra Bland Hashtag To Block Hate Speech.


+Commentary: As has been posted here before in  Curation = Responsibility  & Who needs algorithms? that platforms have to be very careful, a human eye is often required to detect the hate-speech where algorithms can not. Relying on peer-to-peer reportage is a quagmire also. At the speed with which stories are trending it is exhausting & time consuming to have real people vet them. The trolls who (as hashtag activism becomes more powerful) are now turning their eyes to “fighting back” by further traumatizing people and hijacking the attention for their twisted agendas is worrying. Mainly to defame, slander, get clicks/likes and other vanity metrics by trolling people openly but also for more nefarious reasons too. Several times SJWs (which I use here as empowerment not pejoratively as the GGer’s do) posted the people who were posting F*ck Sandra Bland accounts/posts and tried to use doxxing on them & outing the personalities behind them.

This is always dangerous since the name of the cop who pepper-sprayed the #M4BL protestors who were part of a #BlackLivesMatter conference this weekend turned out to be an innocent bystander. People widely circulated his name recklessly & caused him undue stress, that is not helpful to anyone, anymore than Spike Lee tweeting out the address of what he thought was Zimmerman’s parents. Anonymous organizational tactics to be sure, and their involvement alone is probably why #NMoS14 was monitored (and me along with it) because that day they made it their mission to hijack the concern & vigil, which turned into a protest that marched up to Times Square to shut it down. It shouldn’t be embraced for these sort of offenses but the younger social media set seem hellbent on using it.

Social media as a locus for headlines, holding the media accountable, having it  reported on as 24/7 news, used for clickbait, used to anger for wider coverage or views to websites or personalities (yes Piers, I’m pointing at you), is becoming a common mass-derailment tactic. Organizers & activists are adapting but really need to find even more ways to circumvent while also disrupting. They have to be ever vigilant, as we saw with the many conspiracy theories that popped up around Sandra Bland which in a way diffuse the message, do not help when asking for accountability, or help the cause. In fact for the families it must be quite distressing as well. Hope they are well insulated from these shenanigans as it reminded me so much of the post-9/11 experience.