Monday, March 14, 2016

Banning Words on Instagram Didn't  Work

Banning words used by pro-eating disorder or pro-ED communities in Instagram backfired. A new Georgia Tech study found that Instagram users eventually invented new but similar words after the ban in 2012, turning “thighgap” into “thygap” or “thightgap,” just to name a few.

Additionally, the censorship even increased the support for these pro-ED Instagram groups. In spite of Instagram’s efforts to control the expression of these unhealthy behaviours, the number of supporters of anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders still increased by up to 30 percent.

The Georgia Tech researchers investigated 2.5 million pro-ED posts from 2011 to 2014. Lead researcher Stevie Chancellor explains that pro-ED Instagram users remain anonymous and use specific hashtags.

“Likes and comments on these new tags were 15 to 30 percent higher compared to the originals,” notes Munmun De Choudury, an assistant professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing. “Before the ban, a person searching for hashtags would only find their intended word. Now a search produces dozens of similar, non-censored pro-ED terms. That means more content to view and engage with.”

Previously, some of the hashtags they used were “thighgap,” “thinspiration” and “secretsociety.” These users stopped using these as soon as the ban was enacted, and they tweaked the spelling of words like “‘thinspiration’ with “thynspiration” or “thynspo,”  “thighgap” with “thightgap” or “thygap.”

The other 17 terms also turned into hundreds of new words, with 40 variables each term on the average. The term “thighgap” even turned into 107 new but similar words.



Anonymous said...

I really don't care.

Bird of Paradise said...

Ban words that make whining little liberals whine Go Away Liberal wanks

Anonymous said...

I thought "ED" was erectile Dysfunction. Maybe one can cure the other.

Birdzilla said...


Spurwing Plover the fighting shorebird said...

Stop sniveling you silly liberals

Anonymous said...

Morons. The more you ban something the more equivalencies will be created.

Anonymous said...

Just as you ban derogatory terms for gay, which really is a derogatory term for homosexual, more derogatory terms will be created. Social media will circumvent censorship. When the terms wog, wop, slope and numerous others were designated as politically incorrect the term ethnic took on sinister overtones and there was nothing the PC community could do to erase it.