Instagram has started fact checking photos and flagging those deemed false. These photos will still exist on Instagram but with a disclaimed that it contains false information. This was first assumed to be Instagram taking down photos that are altered or photoshopped but it has since clarified that this isn’t the case.
This was first pointed out by San Francisco photographer Toby Harriman (via PetaPixel) about this photo of a man with the backdrop of painted hills. The caption of the photo read, “Would you rather be here right now?” The photo was flagged as one with false information by independent fact-checkers. It was also removed from Instagram’s Explore and Hashtag pages. The reason stated by the fact checker reads, “The primary claims in this information are factually inaccurate”.
In response to this Instagram told Hypebeast, “We don’t hide content because it’s photoshopped, we apply a label when a fact-checker has rated it. Upon review from the fact checker, they changed the rating, so it is no longer being labelled as false on Instagram and Facebook.”
The rainbow image no longer has the false information tag on Instagram. Bit there’s another one shared by photographer Daniel Greenwood where an image of a photoshopped moon is flagged on Instagram. The response around this hasn’t been good with people calling out Instagram for flagging digital art as false information.
Facebook started working with independent fact-checkers for content on its platform and Instagram. Facebook says that it identifies false news through feedback from users while some are identified by the fact-checkers themselves. These fact-checkers “review content, check its facts and rate its accuracy”.
Content which is flagged false will appear lower in Facebook’s News Feed or filtered out on Instagram thereby decreasing its visibility. Also, pages which repeatedly share “false information” will have certain restrictions like monetizing and advertising removed.
Facebook’s fact-checking push came amid pressure of fake news spreading on the platform. This could however have a different affect on Instagram especially on digital artists whose work may be wrongly understood as being fake. Instagram’s content policies have always been very confusing and have often received flak from users. Especially Instagram’s stand on how nudity works where it allows such content but with some restrictions.