Thyghgapp: Instagram content moderation and lexical variation in Pro-Eating disorder communities

Stevie Chancellor, Jessica Pater, Trustin Clear, Eric Gilbert, Munmun De Choudhury

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Pro-eating disorder (pro-ED) communities on social media encourage the adoption and maintenance of disordered eating habits as acceptable alternative lifestyles rather than threats to health. In particular, the social networking site Instagram has reacted by banning searches on several pro- ED tags and issuing content advisories on others. We present the first large-scale quantitative study investigating pro-ED communities on Instagram in the aftermath of moderation - our dataset contains 2.5M posts between 2011 and 2014. We find that the pro-ED community has adopted nonstandard lexical variations of moderated tags to circumvent these restrictions. In fact, increasingly complex lexical variants have emerged over time. Communities that use lexical variants show increased participation and support of pro- ED (15-30%). Finally, the tags associated with content on these variants express more toxic, self-harm, and vulnerable content. Despite Instagram's moderation strategies, pro-ED communities are active and thriving. We discuss the effectiveness of content moderation as an intervention for communities of deviant behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 19th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, CSCW 2016
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages1201-1213
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781450335928
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 27 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event19th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, CSCW 2016 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Feb 27 2016Mar 2 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, CSCW
Volume27

Other

Other19th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, CSCW 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco
Period2/27/163/2/16

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 ACM.

Keywords

  • Eating disorder
  • Instagram
  • Lexical variation
  • Social media

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