“I didn’t know my picture was up there, but if I had known, I would have joined the demonstration,” Irma tells The Local.
But her motivation seems to echo what Gothenburg police said on Tuesday, that most teenagers had assembled outside the high school of the alleged Instagram account owner to tag along, rather than to cause problems.
“I would have gone to watch, I think,” Irma says.
She and her friends are already used to taunting across various sites, but Irma says the tone has become more offensive.
“This is just so common, in junior high it was on Facebook but more jokey, now it’s moved on to Instagram and it’s become so coarse,” she says.
“And it’s always about sex.”
But if it is so common, why did the mood deteriorate so rapidly this week, prompting hundreds of teens to assemble outside the alleged Instagram account user’s high school “to beat her up”, according to a retaliatory Facebook page created in the wake of the “slut shaming”.
“It’s because the snitches were promised anonymity, and then they in turn were outed. They’re the ones who wanted to beat her up,” Irma says.
“Of course, it’s the girl’s fault too, but the people who are snitching are the worst because they’re friends with the people they are ‘outing’.”
Irma started high school this year. Apart from comments moving over from Facebook to Instagram, she has also noticed that the tone is ever more vulgar and vitriolic.
“Nowadays, I’d say, people are really trying to sink each other and make sure other people feel bad,” she says.
“When my parents found out my picture was uploaded to that Instagram account, they just didn’t get it. I mean, they understand Instagram, but they don’t understand the bigger picture.”
Irma says that she herself knows how easy it is to turn to modern technology and fire off insults in the heat of the moment.
She says it applies not only to the Instagram account, where people were promised anonymity to “snitch” on their friends with lurid claims about their sex lives, but to more basic technology, like a simple text message.
“It’s just so easy. If I dislike someone I won’t tell it to their face, but I’ll send them an SMS. I’d say my friends and I are the most mean to each other on SMS, but then you meet up and pretend like nothing’s happened,” Irma says.
“It’s really false. And that’s the worst thing about what happened yesterday, people’s friends are snitching on them.”
Turning to teachers for help or guidance is useless, she thinks.
“They’re just too old, I guess. Most of them don’t even have Instagram.”