While many people would welcome efforts to reduce the amount of fake news we have showing up on social media, Instagram’s latest efforts have had some unintended consequences. In December, the company announced that it was rolling out a new feature that used third-party fact-checkers to reduce the spread of misinformation on the platform.
However, it appears (as reported by The Verge) that this same feature has labelled some digitally manipulated art as false information and hiding photos from digital artists and photographers from the Explore and hashtag pages. Something that is important to many of the artists that use the platform to promote their work.
Essentially, the issue sees some artwork by artists getting flagged as false information and not displaying their artwork. The issue isn’t targeting all Photoshopped photos — just the ones that have been identified by fact-checking websites as false. Something which highlights an issue with those fact-checking websites themselves and their AIs inability to determine the difference. It appears to be a minor issue for now only affecting a few artists and it’s not exactly clear what about their artwork might have triggered the warning.
Facebook (who owns the Instagram platform) has yet to comment or provide an update on the issue and how they intend to deal with it. Given how much these artists rely on Instagram and the obvious fallout if the issue doesn’t get sorted soon, expect a fix or update soon.
Last Updated: January 20, 2020