Instagram starts flagging fake posts but wrongly marks digital art image as 'False information'

The concerned Instagram image is of a man standing on rainbow coloured mountains.


There has been a lot of debate regarding how Facebook needs to handle fake news, misinformation on its platform, especially around the US 2020 elections. The company said that it will flag posts that have fake news or misinformation to avoid users from spreading misleading information. This was even implied in a case that occurred in Singapore. Here Facebook flagged a post as "False information".

 Instagram starts flagging fake posts but wrongly marks digital art image as False information

Representational Image.

The same concept has been transferred to Instagram as well. The company announced that it will flag posts that contain false information but will not ban them from the platform.

As per a new post by San Francisco-based photographer Toby Harriman, the company is marking "False photos/digital art" for photos which it deems have been photoshopped to change the context. According to him, an image where "a man is standing on rainbow-coloured mountains" on Instagram was marked as "False information".  When you tap at "see why", it says, "The primary claims in this information are factually inaccurate."

Harriman says, "Interesting to see this and curious if it’s a bit too far. As much as I do love it to help better associate real vs Photoshop. I also have huge respect for digital art and don’t want to have to click through barriers to see it.”

Instagram flagged this post as

Instagram flagged this post as "False information".

Flagging a post on Instagram also removes it from the Explore tab and hashtag pages, in short, the post won't be seen by many, hence limiting the reach of the concerned artist.

Although, at the time of rolling out this feature, the company had mentioned that it has employed 54 fact-checkers working in 42 languages, but it looks like it still isn't enough.

Applying fact-checking algorithms to regular digital art images is taking things a bit too far. Instagram is a platform where apart from photographers, a lot of digital artists showcase their work as well. If you apply fact-checking algorithms without a nuanced understanding of what comprises digital art, then a lot of digital artists are in for a rude shock.

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