Australia’s federal government has realized that they do not regulate Snapchat under cyberbullying laws and shock horror, cyberbullying can happen over Snapchat. Their solution, get Snapchat to take down offensive content when asked.
Umm…. Is it just me, or is there a very obvious flaw in this plan?
Ok, so it’s not just me. Snapchat content “self-destructs” after a few seconds into the abyss, unless a screen shot or third party app is used. So, what can Snapchat hope to take down if there is nothing there? Is the government expecting them to scan every single Snapchat ever sent and assesses them (before seen) as appropriate or not? I actually don’t know what the Government wants.
Yes, the “snappening” was a thing. Thousands of nude photos were posted online. A third-party app that saves Snapchats without the sender knowing was hacked and these photos released…nothing Snapchat can do about that content now that it’s been posted.
What about the people who are bullied over Snapchat?
Yes, people are bullied over Snapchat. This is also a thing. However, it takes two to Snapchat. A possibly controversial opinion, I’ll admit, but if someone is sending you images in an attempt to make you feel bad about yourself you can just ignore them.
In fact, Snapchat makes it even easier to ignore, because you only need a few seconds worth of bravery to hit the view button and turn your phone over and wait for the image to self-destruct. The best part? You cannot go back and re-watch it over and over in a time of weakness. You can also block people on Snapchat and choose to ignore their story posts until they disappear. If you block someone on Snapchat and set your account to “friends only”, the bully/inappropriate content pusher will know you’ve taken this action and stood up to them as their posts will be forever stuck in a state of “pending”. Also, unlike Twitter or Facebook, if you do this, they can’t just sign up for another account and continue their onslaught. Again, their posts will be stuck as “pending” if you haven’t accepted them as a friend. No more whack-a-troll…I mean mole. By doing this, Snapchat puts the power in the user’s hands. It is up to the user how they use the platform and whom they communicate with. I think that’s pretty cool.
Figure 1: Deleting or blocking a user
Figure 2: If a user has blocked or deleted you your post will remain pending.
However, there are some people who cannot turn the phone over, or who stand by, helpless, while others tease them with “no evidence” and so no consequences for the bully. This sucks, but the reality is that Snapchat cannot do anything about it! The government want them to take down the harmful content…ok, just wait 2 seconds!
It’s a tough platform to monitor and the Government is fighting a losing battle if they think getting Snapchat to take down content that no longer exists is a good plan. I personally feel that they would be better off equipping schools, businesses and anyone else who works with children/are present on Snapchat with a “how to” guide on dealing with difficult issues and risk management. For example, what should a brand do if someone threatens suicide over Snapchat? You have to take it seriously, but with the use of pseudonyms it can be difficult to get into contact with them. Moreover, replying over Snapchat may seem trivial to the person suffering. Ignoring them would be even worse, especially if they’ve sent you the Snapchat as a call for help.
The government should be looking to support those who are being cyber bullied, and educating the community on how not to be a douche. There is always someone on the other side of the phone/computer/letter/Snapchat and they have….wait for it…feelings! Cyberbullying is still bullying and it is an issue with no easy solution. Maybe Snapchat does need some attention, but taking down content that has already been taken down is NOT the way to do it.
Rant over. 🙂