Instagram being used to impersonate children, spread inappropriate messages: Report

Instagram, the Facebook-owned photo-sharing platform is finding its foot in a new controversy.

  • Published: April 26, 2018 1:51 PM IST

Instagram, the Facebook-owned photo-sharing platform is finding its foot in a new controversy. Parents of multiple children at a school in Wake County said that their children are being targeted by imposter Instagram accounts. They said that these imposter accounts are sending sexually explicit messages to their children.

Holey Boyer, who does not allow her seventh-grader to use Instagram, learned that there was an account on his name last week. “They’re using his first and last name, and one of his sports team numbers from last year,” she said. “They have even put on there the initials of his school and what grade he’s in.”

Boyer also added that multiple children, including her two daughters, have received sexually explicit photos, videos and inappropriate messages from the account. Elise Boyer said that she received a sexually explicit video as well as crude messages, reports WWAY TV. The 17-year-old said she immediately reported the account to Instagram as a case of impersonation based on protocols developed by the platform. She also sent documents requested and details of what happened to report the case of impersonation on Instagram.

Boyer adds that Instagram is not removing the account despite being contacted multiple times. Apparently, Boyer’s son is not the only kid finding himself impersonated on the platform. Another woman whose son attends the same school said someone is using her son’s name for the Instagram account and sending inappropriate messages.

Melissa Edwards, the administrator at Thales Academy in Rolesville, told the television channel that she has received reports of receiving explicit messages from 5 to 10 parents. The local police have confirmed that they are investigating the situation but Boyer claims that explicit messages and videos are still arriving on the platform.

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Instagram has not responded to the situation but it could be a grave problem for the platform, which has mostly stayed away from controversies. Instagram requires everyone on its platform to be of minimum 13 years of age but it does not conduct any official analysis of their age. The impersonation is a big problem on all major social media platforms including Facebook and it is not immediately clear whether these platforms have tools in place to limit these accounts.

  • Published Date: April 26, 2018 1:51 PM IST