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Instagram scores lowest on social media sexism report card

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The highest mark was still only a C.

To be fair, none of the big social media platforms scored well on this report card.
Credit: Tom Weller / DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Feminist advocacy group UltraViolet has released a report card ranking some of the biggest social media platforms on how they handle misinformation, hate speech, harassment, and misogyny. Nobody did well.

Compiled in partnership with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, the report evaluates Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Reddit, and YouTube’s policies against UltraViolet’s 11 Policy Recommendations. It then averages each platform’s scores and assigns a letter grade according to Harvard University Graduate School of Education’s grading rubric.

Predictably, nobody got a gold star for their work, with Instagram emerging as the dunce of the class with an abysmal F overall. But even Reddit, the highest scoring of the lot, only walked away with a C average.

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“Social media has become an almost ubiquitous part of modern life,” said UltraViolet communications director Bridget Todd in a press release on Wednesday. “Despite the advantages of keeping in touch on social media platoforms [sic], we can’t allow the companies behind them to peddle lies and conspiracy theories, or tacitly condone racist, misogynistic, homophobic and transphobic attacks.”

The only two As on the report card were earned in individual categories by Reddit and Twitter, both for ensuring that any user on these platforms can report content which violates their policies. However Twitter’s average score was dragged down by its F-worthy failure to direct users exposed to extremist content to resources for countering extremism, as well as its failure to have a human-monitored help desk to support and protect victims of online sexual abuse. Instagram, Youtube, and TikTok also scored Fs in both of these categories.

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In addition to the report card, UltraViolet also published an open letter to the CEOs of all the platforms it evaluated, demanding the companies immediately adopt and enforce the advocacy group’s policies to better protect marginalised groups. UltraViolet’s open letter was also signed by 75 other international organisations, including Color Of Change, GLAAD, and Public Citizen.

“Black, Indigenous, and women of color and LGBTQ people are being harmed on the internet by an onslaught of racist and misogynist attacks,” the letter says. “The actions of your companies — Alphabet, Facebook, Twitter, ByteDance, TikTok, and Reddit — have demonstrated that you care more about your profit margins than keeping people safe.”

It is a bit strange that UltraViolet listed Alphabet (formerly Google) but not Meta (formerly Facebook), and named TikTok and parent company Bytedance separately. Still, the overall sentiment is clear.

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The likelihood that any of the addressed companies adopt UltraViolet’s suggestions seems slim. But it’s worth a shot if there’s even a small chance the continued pressure on social media platforms will make the internet a better place.

“Your failure to act undermines free speech because it enables bad actors who create hostile environments that chill the free speech of marginalized communities,” UltraViolet wrote. “There was once a time when social media represented revolutionary technology that could increase access to information, encourage empathy and diversity, and advance democracy. Now, your platforms must make a choice between pursuing those worthy ideals or continuing to drown the digital and physical worlds in hate, extremism, disinformation, and violence.”

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5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android

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Alright, we get it. You’re an Instagram Nostradamus.

You know exactly what you want to post and when you’re gonna want to post it. Maybe there’s a meme or comment you want to make that you know will be totally relevant for a future moment or event. Or it could be that you’re an influencer and you want to make sure you keep a steady stream of content coming, so you want to schedule posts for times when you know you won’t be active (or won’t have internet access).

You’ll be happy to know there are apps that are specialized for just such situations. So listen up, InstaNostradamuses…Instagrostra…Instadam…Insta…uh…you guys (we’ll workshop it. No we won’t. We’ll probably just abandon that effort completely. You’re welcome) — these are the Instagram-post-scheduling apps for you.

While all of the iPhone apps below are free to download, they all have some in-app purchases.

1. Planoly

PLANOLY

We’ll start with “official partner” of Instagram, itself, Planoly — an Instaplanner that uses a grid to let you plan, schedule, and publish posts (as well as Reels) on Instagram. The app also lets you see post metrics and analytics so you can make sure your post didn’t flop.

Planoly is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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2. Buffer

BufferCredit: buffer / app store

Buffer is another Instagram post scheduler that helps you plan your posts and analyze feedback once they’re published. Use a calendar view to drag and drop posts into days/time slots for easy scheduling.

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Buffer is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

3. Preview

PreviewCredit: preview / app store

Preview offers typical post-scheduling tools and analytics along with a few helpful extras. Get caption ideas, recommendations for hashtags, and more.

Preview is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

4. Content Office

Content OfficeCredit: content office / app store

An Instagram post scheduler with a visual boost, Content Office allows users to plan and schedule Instagram posts while learning “marketing and visual guides to grow your brand on Instagram.” Like aesthetics and using visuals to create cohesive themes? Maybe this is the Instaplanner for you.

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Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.

5. Plann

PlannCredit: plann / apple store

You’ll never guess what “Plann” lets you do…

Aside from scheduling posts, get content ideas and recommendations, as well as strategy tips to ensure you’re maximizing your Instagram engagement. Ever wonder when the best time to post something is? Plann can offer you some help with that.

Plann is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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Social networking websites launch features to encourage users to get boosters

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Facebook Instagram and TikTok are launching new features to encourage people to get their coronavirus booster jabs.

From Friday, users will be able to update their profiles with frames or stickers to show that they have had their top-up jab or aim to when they become eligible.

It follows on from people previously being able to show they have had their first and second jabs on certain social networking websites and apps.

TikTok also held a “grab a jab” event in London earlier this year.

I urge everyone who is eligible – don’t delay, get your vaccine or top up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones

More than 16 million booster vaccines have now been given across the UK.

People who are aged 40 and above and received their second dose of their vaccine at least six months ago are currently eligible to have their booster.

A new campaign advert is also being launched on Friday, which shows how Covid-19 can build up in enclosed spaces and how to prevent that from happening.

Vaccines minister Maggie Throup said:  “Getting your booster is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your family this winter.

“It is fantastic to see some of the biggest household names further back the phenomenal vaccine rollout, allowing their users to proudly display that they have played their part in helping us build a wall of defence across the country.

“I urge everyone who is eligible – don’t delay, get your vaccine or top-up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones.”

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How many hashtags should you use to get the most ‘Likes’ on Instagram?

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Hashtags are a key feature of Instagram posts. In fact, they have become an essential means of ensuring more ‘Likes’ on social media – so long as you choose them wisely.

But how many hashtags should you use to maximise your popularity on the social network? The answer might surprise you.

It’s a question that many Instagram users ask themselves: what’s the right number of hashtags to add to a post? To find out, the Later platform analysed 18 million Instagram posts, excluding videos, Reels and Stories.

Interestingly, Later’s results differ from Instagram’s own recommendations. According to Later’s analysis, using more hashtags helps get better results in terms of “reach”, or the percentage of users exposed to the post. By using 20 hashtags, Later observed an optimal average reach rate of just under 36%. Using 30 hashtags gets the next-best reach rate. With five hashtags, reach hits just under 24%.

And while a post’s reach is important, engagement is even more so. From “Likes” and comments to shares and follows – on average, 30 hashtags appears to result in better engagement rates: “When it comes to average engagement rate, using 30 Instagram hashtags per feed post results in the most likes and comments,” says Later’s research.

Yet, at the end of September 2021, Instagram advised its creators to use between three and five hashtags for their posts, while warning them against using too many. The social network advised that using 10 to 20 hashtags per post “will not help you get additional distribution”.

For Later, there could be other reasons behind Instagram’s recommendations: “As Instagram continues to expand their discoverability and SEO tools, it makes sense that they want users to experiment with fewer, more relevant hashtags – this could help them accurately categorise and recommend your posts in suggested content streams, like the Instagram Reels feed or the updated hashtag search tabs,” the website explains. – AFP Relaxnews

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