Social media is a scary place and there are a lot of things that can happen to you. As an influencer, social media is essential to running my business and working with brands and other creators. And though it’s technically my choice of what platforms that I want to be on, the influencer marketing space and how society engages with others via social media, dictates what platforms I need to be actively engaged on, like Instagram, in order to run my business successfully and I take on the risks that come with being on the platform including the possibility of being harassed on Instagram.
For years, I’ve been on Instagram. Now, I wasn’t one of the people who jumped on early on and haven’t looked back, but I will say that I have been on the platform for quite some time. In that time, I haven’t had any really big problems other than trying to master the algorithm like anyone else. I would hear horror stories of people being hacked or getting so many hateful comments that they gave up their profiles, and I felt sorry for them, but also thankful that it hadn’t happened to me.
My luck with dodging issues on Instagram ran out in 2021 and it wasn’t anything that I could have really prevented and nothing that I could have saw coming. It was a situation that came out of the blue where I was an influencer who was on the brink of fully losing her business and quitting social media completely. And the biggest part that almost led me to completely giving up on social media, wasn’t fully the situation that had happened, but the complete lack of support from Instagram during the time that all of it was happening.
In this episode of the That Luxe Life podcast, I want to share with you the time that I was harassed and defamed on social media for a little over a month and share with you how Instagram and the overarching company offered no support or resources. It was a situation that led me to tears, and thankfully, because I have a community around me, I was able to get of, but not because of Instagram.
Being Harassed ON INSTAGRAM
The harassment on Instagram came out of the blue. It was just one day that I woke up and there were comments all over my posts and the posts of any accounts that I had tagged in the past few weeks – including brands that I had worked with. These comments were lewd, sexual, defamatory, and used my Instagram handle and name in almost all of the comments to show that the comments were specifically about me. The comments arrived in hundreds with also spam followers flooding my account and throwing off my analytics. It happened multiple days in a row over spans of weeks, and no matter how much blocking, deleting or reporting I did, nothing was stopping where it was coming from. I began getting calls and emails from brands that I had recently worked with letting me know that it was happening and asking if I knew why it was happening. I had no clue. There had been nothing offensive that I had posted, and I hadn’t intentionally said anything offensive to anyone on social media or in person. The harassment became so overwhelming that I ended up pausing all of my brand partnerships and putting my account on private – losing all of my data and essentially shutting down my business.
Trying to Connect WITH INSTAGRAM
In the previous year, I was fortunate enough to secure a direct contact with someone on the Instagram team, but once this all started happening, I realized that that contact wasn’t going to be my saving grace because HE WAS GONE. The individual had moved on to another company, and unlike what many other representatives and the companies do when someone leaves, there was no farewell email that said that he was leaving and there was no connection created to another member of the Instagram team so that I would still have that connection to Instagram. I felt lost, so I did what Instagram says to do. I filed report requests, reached out to the Facebook Concierge, and called the support line. Nothing panned out. I received no responses to my requests, the Facebook Concierge said they couldn’t do anything and only told me to keep blocking the accounts, and the support line goes to a voice message system that says they will call you back if they can – I did not receive an callbacks. I was left feeling very deserted by Instagram and their lack of support. With so much marketing that was going around saying how they truly want to support their creators, I really felt that it was truly a marketing tactic and that they really could care less of what I was going through. I ended up having to go through lawyers and social media investigators to get any sort of answers all while the harassment and defamation was still occurring.
ABOUT THIS EPISODE
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