Instagram plans algorithm change after complaints of censoring pro-Palestine content
The updated algorithm will rank original and re-posted content equally.
Instagram will make changes to its algorithms after some of its employees complained that the platform did not show pro-Palestine content during the Gaza conflict, The Verge reported. The company said it would now give equal weightage to both original content and re-posted content, added the report.
Instagram said its users had shown more interest in original content from their friends than reshared content. That is why it changed algorithms to promote original content.
“But there's been an increase— not just now but in the past as well — in how many people are resharing posts, and we've seen a bigger impact than expected on the reach of these posts,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “Stories that reshare feed posts aren't getting the reach people expect them to, and that's not a good experience.”
Earlier, Buzzfeed and Financial Times reported that the Instagram employee group had sought a review of content that was getting censored by the company's automated moderation. Such content included posts on the al-Asqa mosque.
People around the world - from Colombia to East Jerusalem - use our platform to share what's happening. We know it was a really bad experience. Ultimately I'm accountable for Instagram's stability, so I own this. I'm very sorry.— Adam Mosseri 😷 (@mosseri) May 7, 2021
The FT report, however, noted that employees did not think the company was deliberately taking down such content but some worried that “moderating at scale is biased against any marginalised groups.”
It is not the first time social networking companies have faced criticism over selective content removal. For instance, Twitter recently restricted an account of a Palestinian writer. Later, the company said it was due to an “error.” On Instagram, some users complained they were not able to publish Palestine-related content. Instagram head Adam Mosseri later clarified that it was due to a technical bug.