Misogynistic Harassment, New Ofcom Podcast, Disinformation & More



High-profile women who use Instagram are subject to regular ‘misogynistic harassment’ that is not dealt with by Instagram, a new study has found.

Instagram failed to act on 90% of abuse sent via direct message (DM) to women in the study, which was commissioned by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), which analysed the Instagram accounts of celebrities such as Amber Herd and Rachel Riley.

One in every 15 DMs (6.67%) broke Instagram’s rules on abuse and harassment, the study found.

The study identified a number of key aspects of Instagram’s DM function which undermine user safety, including being forced to view messages sent in ‘vanish mode’ before being able to report them, and being unable to report any abusive messages that are sent as voice notes.

“Instagram has chosen to side with abusers by negligently creating a culture in which abusers expect no consequences—denying women dignity and their ability to use digital spaces without harassment,” said Imran Ahmed, CCDH chief executive.

 “There is an epidemic of misogynist abuse taking place in women’s DMs. Meta and Instagram must put the rights of women before profit.”

Head of women’s safety at Meta, Cindy Southworth told the Guardian she disagreed with many of the findings of the CCDH report but said: “we don’t allow gender-based hate or any threat of sexual violence, and last year we announced stronger protections for female public figures.”


The UK media regulator Ofcom has launched a new podcast to discuss issues around online safety.

The podcast, which is to be called ‘Life Online’ will seek to discuss “what really happens online, how people feel about it, and what can be done to help everyone live safer lives online.”

The podcast episodes will air monthly and will tackle a range of topics including “how to protect children from online harm, how to tackle terrorism online and how tech platforms will need to innovate to follow these new rules.”

It follows research by Ofcom showing that 30% of people fail to question misinformation, while 6% believe everything they see.


Meta continues to tackle a wave of disinformation and counter hacking attempts by pro-Russia groups amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Detailing its work in its ‘Adversarial Threat Report’ the tech giant said it had “seen a further spike in compromise attempts aimed at members of the Ukrainian military” and that it “detected and disrupted recidivist CIB activity linked to the Belarusian KGB” who posted about “Ukrainian troops surrendering without a fight.”

The company said it had blocked attempts by hackers to post calls for Ukraine to surrender while posing as Ukrainian military personnel.

Meta has made a number of recommendations to users in Russia and Ukraine to keep their accounts safe, including accessing Facebook through a VPN, using dual-factor authentication and ensuring passwords are different across all online accounts.


The Financial Conduct Authority has called on Meta to take action to prevent investment scammers from advertising on Facebook and Instagram.

In a letter to the Telegraph, FCA chief executive Nikhil Rathi said: Following our public intervention, Google changed policy to only permit FCA-registered firms to advertise financial promotions with them.

“We now expect commitments from Meta, Twitter and others to be turned into clear timetables for action.”

It comes amid a surge in online fraud taking place on social media.

At present, firms can pay for investment advertisements on Facebook irrespective of whether or not they are regulated by the FCA.

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