CCDH made Instagram act on violence against women and girls

Posted on January 30, 2024 in Impact stories.

instagram app to showcase CCDH's Hidden Hate campaign win

Following our #HiddenHate report, which found Instagram failed to act on 9 in 10 reports of abuse against women in DMs, Instagram introduced new tools for blocking abuse.

The Campaign

Through a partnership with five high-profile women, our Hidden Hate report found that Instagram failed to act on 90% of abuse sent via direct message to women in this report. Instagram further failed to act on 9 in 10 violent threats over DM and any image-based sexual abuse within 48 hours.

CCDH produced a full report, a petition, and a joint letter with 27 organizations and individuals joining in calling on Instagram to address misogynistic abuse on its platform.

Success: Meta acted

  • In September 2022, Instagram shifted to developing tools to protect users from receiving unsolicited nude photos on their platforms, a direct change the Verge reported as a result of our report identifying the ‘hidden words’ feature did not work nor did Instagram act on any image-based sexual abuse we identified.
  • In October 2022, Instagram introduced ‘nudges’ to direct messages to remind users to be respectful in new messages to users, especially with those with over 10,000 followers. Vox, reporting this change, credited Hidden Hate as one of the reasons Instagram is pursuing this change.
  • In June 2023, Instagram will test a new feature to block image and video-based DM requests.

Press Impact

  • Washington Post: “Some women shared the messages they get on Instagram: It’s not pretty”
  • The Times: “Instagram must start to tackle misogynist abuse” 
  • The Evening Standard: “Instagram ‘failing to protect women in the public eye from misogynist abuse’”
  • NBC News: “Instagram ‘systemically fails’ to protect high-profile women from abuse, study finds”
  • BBC News: “Instagram: Presenter Rachel Riley received series of porn messages”
  • Sydney Morning Herald: “Cesspool of misogyny: Instagram accused of failing high-profile women”

Policy Impact

  • In April 2022, we coordinated 20+ signatures on a sign-on letter to Meta to stop misogynistic abuse in DMs from partner organizations including Media Matters, Real Facebook Oversight Board, Reproaction, Friends of the Earth 
  • In May 2022, we briefed White House, NSC and Gender Policy Council and UN Population Fund, who shared the report with their networks
  • Briefings with Representatives Schiff, Khanna, Trahan and Malinowski lead to future pressure from lawmakers on FTC to mitigate online hate and extremism