Former Love Islander Amy Hart says there is ‘no point’ in reporting online abuse

Former Love Islander Amy Hart says there is ‘no point’ in reporting online abuse
The former Love Islander says platforms are ‘not supportive enough when it comes to trolling’

A former Love Island contestant has told a government inquiry that social media companies are not doing enough to combat trolling.

Amy Hart, who appeared on the fifth season of Love Island in 2019, said she no longer reports abusive comments on social media platforms because she doesn’t believe anything will be done.

Hart gave her comments as evidence during an inquiry into influencer culture on Tuesday 14 September.

The inquiry aims to examine the power of influencers on social media, how influencer culture operates and the impact of influencers on the media.

Appearing in front of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee, Hart said she was surprised to learn that many of the abusive messages she received on social media did not break platforms’ community guidelines.

“I am desensitised but I would say that the [social media] networks are not supportive enough when it comes to trolling,’ she told the committee.

“I have reported some messages before and they come back saying, ‘We have looked at it and it doesn’t break community guidelines’ and I am like, ‘Look at that message!’

“Look at this barrage of messages someone has sent me before 7 o’clock in the morning telling me how much they hate me, how awful I am, why everyone hates me, how ugly I am,” she said.

Hart has 1.1 million followers on Instagram and more than 130,000 followers on Twitter.

She has now stopped reporting such messages because she believes “there is no point”. Additionally, she said the process of reporting abuse online is too long when there is no guarantee that any action will be taken.

“Because the time it takes me the process of doing: ‘Why are you reporting this message?’ and then it comes back a few hours later with a notification that says, ‘We have checked it and it doesn’t break community guidelines’.”

Nicole Ocran, a co-founder of The Creator Union, a trade union that advocates for digital creators, also spoke at the inquiry.

Ocran said social media platforms either “do not move fast enough” when it comes to online abuse, or they “don’t move at all”.

A spokeswoman for Facebook, the parent company of Instagram, said the platform has “strict guidelines against bullying and harassment”.

“[We] have introduced a number of safety tools including Limits, which prevents comments and DMs from people who don’t follow you for a period of time, and Hidden Words, which allows you to filter abusive words, phrases and emojis from your comments and DMs, so you never have to see them,” Facebook said.

On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that it has seen internal documents from Facebook which allegedly show that the company knows Instagram makes young, teenage girls feel worse about their bodies.

The documents are reportedly part of studies Facebook has been conducting into how Instagram affects young users.

“We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls,” one document from 2019 allegedly said.

Additionally, the studies found that 13 per cent of British users and six per cent of American users believed that Instagram was a source of suicidal thoughts.

In a blog post about The Wall Street Journal’s findings, Instagram said “social media isn’t inherently good or bad for people”.

“Issues like negative social comparison and anxiety exist in the world, so they’re going to exist on social media too. That doesn’t change the fact that we take these findings seriously, and we set up a specific effort to respond to this research and change Instagram for the better,” the post said.


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