Teen Calls Out Instagram for Policy Negligence, Starts Campaign to Make Instagram Safer

Tina Zhou, a 14-year-old student, started a petition on Change.org protesting Instagram’s seemingly initial allowance of a racist video as policy negligence.

With her parents’ support and approval, Zhou highlighted a plan of action against the social media platform.

The racist video in question, created by animator and illustrator Sven Stoffels, appeared to sexualize Asian women and relate them to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Instagram users who reported the video received automated messages from Instagram notifying them that not all reported posts can be prioritized while some even received messages that the video did not violate Instagram’s community guidelines.

Because of their initial finding and allowing the video to remain up, Zhou claims that Instagram was in violation of its own community guidelines.

“I continued with my research and realized we Instagram users were being denied our Instagram rights and Constitutional rights, and that Policy Negligence (failing to abide by your policy or guidelines) is a violation under the law,” she said.

One of the guidelines that the video allegedly is in violation of is written under the COVID-19 section:

“We’re working to remove content that has the potential to contribute to real-world harm…hate speech, bullying and harassment and misinformation that contributes to the risk of imminent violence or physical harm.

Another is from the “Respect other members of the Instagram community” section:

“It’s never OK to encourage violence or attack anyone based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, disabilities, or diseases. When hate speech is being shared to challenge it or to raise awareness, we may allow it. In those instances, we ask that you express your intent clearly.”

Image via LLAG

Zhou wrote that deleting the video is equivalent to “[pretending] their response never happened, and [getting] away with it scot-free.”

“It is clear that we as citizens and legal users of Instagram deserve protection under both Instagram Community Guidelines and the United States Constitutional Amendments,” she continued. “Since Instagram neglected to abide by their Community Guidelines, therefore denying us the rights we hold under the Constitution, [it’s] time we take action.”

There are four goals she wants to achieve: justice from Instagram, protection for the Chinese community on Instagram, protection and safety of all Instagram users, and “protection, safety, and human rights for all social media users.”

Zhou told NextShark she wants users to get the rights they deserve and for the social media platform to answer and cease their actions.

“I was sick of seeing all these people with the potential to make a change decide to stand back and complain instead,” she said. “I decided to be that person who did something.”

NextShark has reached out to Facebook, which owns Instagram, for further comment.

Feature Images via Tina Zhou (left), @svenstoffels (right)

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