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What Happens When You Report Someone On Instagram For Bullying?

What Happens When You Report Someone On Instagram For Bullying?

Instagram has grown to become a powerful digital platform with millions of daily active users and a strict policy to eliminate hate speach, harassment, violence, abuse, and spam. As their popularity has grown, Instagram moderators have become more depend on users of the platform to report accounts posts and comments that violate their guidelines. Here’s a quick look at online bullying, and what happens when you report someone on Instagram for bullying.

Is Online Bullying Illegal?

The short answer to this is yes – online bullying is illegal. To combat the growing issue of digital harassment, more than 45 states have passed laws aimed at strictly penalizing cyberbullying to date. In US legislation, there is little distinction between cyberbullying and cyberstalking, but generally cyberbullying is the term used when minors involved, and cyberstalking refers to adults. Cyberbullying legislation has faced pushback due to First Amendment concerns, and a typical defense argument against cyberbullying will cite the First Amendment since there is as of yet no clear legislation defining cyberbullying policies. At this time, cyberbullying is generally handled at the state level. The definition of online bullying can still be quite nuanced however, and a closer look is needed to understand what types of behaviors cross the line.

Different Types of Online Bullying

Let’s take a look at some of these different forms this destructive behavior takes in today’s digital world. There are a number of behaviors that are defined as cyberbullying, the most common being the following:

  • Exclusion – target might be deliberately left out of chat threads or uninvited to social gatherings that friends are going to.
  • Harassment – a broad category of bullying that typically refers to consistent hurtful or threatening online messages.
  • Doxing – Revealing some ones personal information on the internet.
  • Cyberstalking – a form of online bullying that can involve real and material threats, online monitoring, false accusations, and verbal abuse. It has even been known to cross into physical stalking in some cases.
  • Tricking – A form of bullying in which the bully will befriend the target to extract personal information that will be used against them at a later time.
  • Fraping – A form of bullying in which the bully will create social media accounts impersonating the target and post inappropriate material to tarnish their reputation.
  • Masquerading – A form of bullying in which an online profile is made with the primary intention of bullying someone. These accounts will typically not reveal who the person behind them is.
  • Dissing – A form of bullying in which the bully will spread malicious information about their target via online posts and private messages.
  • Trolling – A form of bullying in which the bully will seek to find ways to deliberately upset their target/s using online material and posts. Trolling is considered online bullying when it is done with malicious intent.
  • Flaming – A form of bullying in which the bully will directly insult and verbally assault their target, via private messages or via posts. Similar to trolling, flaming is a more direct form of communication with the target.

What Happens When You Report Someone On Instagram For Bullying?

Once a post, account, or comment is reported, a team of moderators will receive the notification and review the complaint accordingly. Depending on the context of the complaint, they may then decide to take action against the complaint by having an account banned, or have a post or comment deleted. If multiple users report on the same piece of material, Instagram will view this as priority. Unfortunately, Instagram may not always decide to take action on the reported item. Oftentimes stolen accounts will remain present on the platform despite the coordinated efforts of a group of friends to have an imposter account removed. Since Instagram prioritizes reports on hate speech, nudity, and other malicious items, scam accounts that seek to get users off the platform without using abusive language often fall by the wayside.


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Instagram is committed to keeping their environment safe for all by strictly eliminating any type of instagram harassment, violence, abuse, spam or hate speech from its network. Even if a report does not result in any action on behalf of the company, Instagram still makes a note of the reports a user made and their algorithm will adjust accordingly to show users less of that kind of material in the future. If you or someone you know is dealing with online bullying, reach out to one of our specialists to see what we can do for you.

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