Instagramowned by Facebook, has made changes to its algorithm after a group of its employees reportedly complained that pro-Palestinian content was not visible to users during the conflict in Gaza. Instagram generally shows original content in its stories before republished content, but now it will start to give equal importance to both, the company confirmed. The edge on Sunday.
As reported by BuzzFeed News and the Financial times, the group of Instagram employees had made numerous appeals about content that had been censored by automated Instagram moderation, such as posts about the removal of the al-Asqa mosque by mistake. Employees did not believe the censorship was deliberate, according to FOOTBut one said that “moderating on a large scale is biased against marginalized groups.”
The change is not just in response to concerns about pro-Palestinian content, a Facebook spokesperson said in an email to The edgeBut the company realized that the way the app worked, generating posts that it believed its users were most interested in, led people to believe that it was suppressing certain points of view or topics. “We want to be really clear, this is not the case,” the spokesman said. “This applies to any post that is re-shared in stories, no matter what it is.”
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have come under fire in recent weeks for how content about the Israel-Palestine conflict has appeared, or has not appeared. Earlier this month, Twitter restricted the account of a Palestinian writer, who later said it was done “by mistake.” And Instagram ended up apologizing after many accounts were unable to post Palestinian-related content for several hours on May 6, a move that Instagram boss Adam Mosseri tweeted it was due to a “technical error”.
A lot of people thought we were removing their content because of what they posted or the hashtag they used, but this bug was not related to the content itself, but rather a widespread problem that has now been fixed.
– Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) May 7, 2021
Instagram says it has repeatedly heard from users who say they are more interested in original stories from close friends than seeing people who share others’ photos and posts. That’s why he prioritized original stories, the spokesperson said. “But there has been an increase, not only now but also in the past, in the number of people who are sharing posts, and we have seen a greater than expected impact on the reach of these posts,” the spokesperson said. “Stories that share feed posts don’t get the reach that people expect, and that’s not a good experience.”
The spokesperson added that Instagram still believes that users want to see more original stories, so it is looking at how to focus stories on original content through new tools.