Instagram: Companies Need New Tools to Mitigate New Risks

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In the five years since its inception, Instagram has rapidly increased in popularity, joining Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter as one of the top social media sites on the web. The world of social networks is shifting from text-based interactions to visually-centric content and Instagram epitomizes that trend.

Instagram recently surpassed 400 million users and the Pew Research Center reports that over half of young adults online in America now use the service. Engagement with younger audiences is growing - Instagram is considered the most important social network by more American teens than any other network.

Eager to reach a new generation of consumers, 85% of top brands have already adopted Instagram and the leaders at Instagram clearly recognize the opportunity their platform provides for businesses. They recently announced a Partner Program to recognize companies that are making it easier for brands to promote their businesses on Instagram.

As the Instagram community continues to grow, so will the business opportunities it provides. However, this valuable platform poses unique challenges for social media security and compliance.

Users love Instagram’s image-based experience. But keyword and text-based security and moderation solutions are completely blind to the content of those images, leaving brands open to compliance violations and security risks. Without an automated solution capable of analyzing both images and text, companies must either manually moderate their Instagram accounts or restrict use of the platform. For financial service organizations and other companies in highly regulated industries these risks may prevent them from using Instagram at all.


Introducing SocialPatrol for Instagram

Proofpoint's latest release introduces the industry's first social media security and compliance solution for Instagram. SocialPatrol not only supports comment and caption moderation, it also includes advanced image analysis critical to Instagram.


A Picture with a Thousand Words - Monitoring Text Within Images

Brands are liable for all of the content they post to social media, including text within images. The ability to monitor text in images is particularly relevant for top brands who use Instagram as a promotional platform and include text in many of the pictures they post. To illustrate this point we scanned the Instagram accounts of five top financial institutions. The financial services sector is one of many industries with strict regulations for text in social media. Of the 2,000+ images we scanned, over 40% contained text. Companies currently have no automated tool that can ensure this text is compliant. 

SocialPatrol is the first automated security moderation solution for Instagram that allows brands to monitor and remediate text, not only in captions and comments, but also within images.

Our software reads text contained in images and analyzes it using over 100 algorithmic classifiers to look for language that might violate industry regulations or acceptable use. Companies can use preset or customized policies to automatically notify a moderator if a violation is found, making it easy to remove non-compliant posts.

Instagram post violating FTC regulations for sweepstakes

This Instagram post violates FTC regulations for sweepstakes, which require reference to clear and complete terms and conditions. SocialPatrol has already found over 1,000 possible compliance violations like this one. (Fictitious image created based on real violation to protect original brand).


Picture Perfect - Avoiding Embarrassing Mistakes

In addition to scanning text in images the new version of SocialPatrol for Instagram includes image scanning software that can recognize pornagraphic content.

Automated moderation of outbound posts is a vital part of social media strategy for organizations that want to avoid embarrassing errors that could damage their brand. Every year companies are forced to redact content and apologize when employees make careless mistakes.

Companies who protect their Instagram accounts with SocialPatrol have the security of knowing that their page will not contain pornagraphic images that could compromise their brand.


A Detailed Picture - Data from Live Instagram Accounts

Since launching SocialPatrol for Instagram we have scanned over 2 million items - images, captions, and comments - from 788 brand-managed Instagram accounts. We found over 1,000 possible compliance violations posted by those brands, as well as nearly 23,000 comments that included profanity, hate speech, bullying, or spam.


The Big Picture - Using Instagram Without The Risk

Nexgate is committed to supporting companies in the way they do business today. That means protecting brands from compliance risks, security threats, and brand damage on social media. With automated moderation for both images and text, more organizations will be able to take advantage of the opportunities presented by Instagram with less worry about the risks.


To learn more about SocialPatrol or the rest of our products, visit us at