The student newspaper of Augusta High School

The Oriole

The student newspaper of Augusta High School

The Oriole

The student newspaper of Augusta High School

The Oriole

Social media platforms need to do more to protect their users

Infographic by Rachel Womeldorff

Social media companies control what is on their platforms and what their users see.

The recent rise of social media’s outreach and availability to younger audiences raises questions among users and others affected. While social media users should have some power over what shows up on their feeds, platforms still need to take more action to protect younger users.

“If someone chooses to be on a platform, they should be able to choose what they want to see and what others see about them,” sophomore Baylee Ohl said.

Companies use algorithms to select what users should see and if the content is safe to show. They should use other forms of personalization to ensure that users are seeing content customized to their preferences.

Sometimes algorithms on these platforms push out videos that are graphic and violate the platform’s terms of service. 

Companies should be more careful and monitor their platforms more closely to limit this kind of content that these platforms push out.

Students have differing thoughst about monitoring platforms. Junior Sam Butler disagrees with us and thinks this limits users’ rights.

“When you take away people’s right to say what they want to say, especially if it’s not harming others, then it kind of takes away people’s freedom of speech,” Butler said.

Online platforms limit and choose what content their users see depending on their age, but sometimes their systems fail and show inappropriate content for younger users.

“Depending on age, if things get too hostile, the platform should step in to protect users,” Ohl said.

Instagram is the most infamous social media platform among teens for its inappropriate or illegal content, specifically Instagram Reels. 

Reels is Instagram’s attempt to cash in on the “short form content” boom that is popular because of apps like TikTok. 

On Reels certain videos are being pushed to users that contain sexual or illegal content to users of all ages. Seventy-two percent of teens ages 13-17 use Instagram (Study by PEW Reaserch Center).

As far as illegal videos go one of the most popular genres of this is extreme car crashes. 

After scrolling through Reels for a while coming across a video of a fatal car crash is not uncommon. Again, these videos are being shown to users as young as 13.

On these platforms, nothing is stopping a user from lying about their age while making an account. A method of confirming age is a good way to keep underage users safe.

“Apps that need you to be 16 or older should have you show ID,” Butler said.

In the end, people who use social media agree that platforms need to better censor and manage the content users see. They also need to better confirm the age of the users and promote appropriate content for that specific age.

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About the Contributors
Rachel Womeldorff
Rachel Womeldorff, Managing Editor
Junior Rachel Womeldorff is excited about her third year on The Oriole staff and her second year as Managing Editor. Womeldorff is also a member of Brick A Productions as well as the golf team. Newspaper is her favorite thing to spend time on and enjoys the social media aspect of the publication. After high school, Womeldorff plans to attend the University of Kansas with a major in journalism and communications.
Isaac Basquez
Isaac Basquez, Reporter
Junior Isaac Basquez is a second-year reporter for The Oriole. He spends his free time listening to music and being with friends; he is also the drumline captain . He is on staff because of his love for producing informative and entertaining stories for people to read. He dreams of attending Berklee College of Music after high school.
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