Blissinformation
July 19, 2019 9:39 PM   Subscribe

"Tag cleaners, as they call themselves, drown out gore, harassment, and more by flooding a user’s tagged photos with pleasant images. It’s benevolent spam. The most prolific accounts are usually reposting the same images ad nauseam in quick bursts."
Randomfloweracc, run by a 17-year-old named Lori, uses cartoons like Rilakkuma or Hello Kitty. Naomi, owner of cute.cleanup, is also partial to Sanrio characters and rainbows.

User kanyewestnandos — who posts the same meme of the rapper in a Nando’s — says tag cleaning offers protection that goes beyond simply reporting a malicious account. “It is harder to witch hunt the people who are posting graphic material because they can change their username,” they say. “And if they eventually end up getting reported they can make a new account.” Some photos or disrespectful memes may not violate Instagram’s rules, meaning they stay up. Another tag cleaner, a 15-year-old named Valerie, says that it’s a fast way to push images to the bottom of an account. “If you just report, it is likely that it won’t get taken down immediately and people will have enough time to save the picture and spread it, which is what we’re trying to avoid,” she says.

[...] “Tag cleaning in combination with mass reporting is the way to combat the trolls,” says Naomi, one of the tag cleaners. “If we only relied on reporting, the tags would still be flooded with ‘those photos’ while IG removes them. Not to mention, IG doesn’t always remove them or they take their sweet time. They also won’t remove memes that don’t use the graphic photo obviously because it doesn’t break community guidelines.”

[...] Naomi describes the time posting and tagging and refreshing and reporting as draining. She doesn’t encourage anyone to get into it blindly, especially for those putting themselves in a position to repeatedly see graphic content. “It’s not for the squeamish, I particularly feel some level of desensitization from you know ... the internet and shock culture so I felt like I could do this.”

[...] For Instagram’s tag cleaners, the growing community has proven to be invaluable. Naomi says she shoulders the burden so that others won’t have to. “It’s good to know that there’s others doing just as much as you,” she says.
(The Verge, via Super Punch)
posted by Little Dawn (8 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
 
I wonder if a bot-assisted posting rate would help the tag cleaners?

Or would the trolls just start using it, too?
posted by Quackles at 11:48 PM on July 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


The very small amount of time I spend reporting tweets someone else tells me about is horrible enough. These young women are doing something amazing.

Is there a gofundme to assure they are having access to appropriate trauma counseling? Is that even possible?

I don’t know how I could do what they are doing at such a young age and not be already overwhelmed and shutting myself off from the world.
posted by sio42 at 2:11 AM on July 20, 2019 [9 favorites]


Allowing other people to tag you in photos is one of the worst ideas in social media.

Yet another astonishingly damaging misfeature created by people who didn't stop to think "what if this thing we are making was weaponized by thousands of terrible people to be used against me personally."
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:14 AM on July 20, 2019 [12 favorites]


Neal Stephenson uses this technique in his latest "Fall:Dodge in Hell". Thought maybe it was just an author's ploy - so happy to see it can actually work to drown the trolls.
You go, girls!
posted by Mesaverdian at 6:39 AM on July 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


Was it Mr Rogers who said, in any horrible situation, we should "watch out for the helpers" if we wanted to be reminded that humanity is not all bad?

Well, here they are.

Thanks for posting this.
posted by rpfields at 9:37 AM on July 20, 2019 [9 favorites]


Allowing other people to tag you in photos is one of the worst ideas in social media.

At the very least, shouldn't there be some sort of limit on it? Like, you can only be tagged in photos by mutual "friends". (Or is it followers? Or something else? I don't use instagram, but you get the idea.) Even better if there is a setting where you can choose to let no one tag you, only mutual friends, or if you feel like living dangerously, anyone.

For all I know, maybe there are privacy controls like this, but I imagine if there were, then the heroic efforts of these tag cleaners wouldn't be needed.

They are definitely doing great work, and I hope they're able to find a way to cope with the trauma from what they're doing.
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:15 AM on July 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


Was it Mr Rogers who said, in any horrible situation, we should "watch out for the helpers" if we wanted to be reminded that humanity is not all bad?

A slight tangent, but it should be said that Mr Rogers was giving this advice to children, who themselves are powerless in whatever terrible situation is happening. The adults are expected to get off their ass and do something about it.

Edit: In other words, if you are an adult, be the "helper" is this situation.
posted by sideshow at 11:26 AM on July 20, 2019 [15 favorites]


In other words, if you are an adult, be the "helper" is this situation.

Fortunately, one does not preclude the other.
posted by rpfields at 5:11 PM on July 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


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