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Reporting animal cruelty content matters - part 1

Are you convinced that social media platforms do not take any action on animal cruelty content? You’ve reported a video to YouTube and it wasn’t taken down? Do you think that reporting to Facebook is pointless?

Does this sound familiar?

You come across an animal cruelty video on social media. Your first instinct is to report this video to the platform, as your only tool available to voice your discontent. Knowing where and how to report animal cruelty can be really hard or the option may not even exist, but you do your best to report the content anyway. Soon after your report, you receive feedback from the platform: the content you reported doesn’t breach the platform’s policies, or, due to a high number of reports, the platform hasn’t been able to review your report. Yet, the video that you reported is blatant cruelty and you know very well that it breaches their policy. This is also not the first time that you have reported such videos and that the platform’s feedback disappointed you. You have stopped believing that reporting is useful and you know that platforms never remove content featuring animal cruelty.

We understand the frustration and we too are familiar with this scenario. The Social Media Animal Cruelty Coalition (SMACC) was created to tackle this type of issue and is able to offer you a different perspective on what reporting means, how it works and to expose the bigger picture.

It is very easy to feel disheartened by the platform’s feedback stating that the content wasn’t removed. However, it’s important to remember that millions of people use social media and that your report is not an individual attempt, rather, it feeds into thousands of other reports from other users, and this is key to keeping the motivation to report content.

The more people report content to the platforms, the more the platforms pay attention to the content reported and the issue at large.

A video might get removed after a certain number of reports has been reached, so each individual report is crucial.

It can take days, weeks, or even months for a video, photo or account to get removed. This is why a video / photo is rarely taken down from your report, and this is why it is so common to receive disappointing feedback from the platforms.

However, we know that your report was useful nonetheless!

Thousands of links are reported to the platforms and to SMACC. A study of our data shows that by February 2023, our volunteers had reported 3251 links to us and to the platforms, and that 47% of these links were removed by the platforms! This is almost 1 video out of 2 removed eventually by social media platforms.

This is thanks to efforts from all of you, social media users, who have voiced their discontent when faced with such content. On our end, we apply additional pressure and we can try and make long-lasting changes.

Read more about why reporting matters here: Reporting matters | SMACC

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