Facebook owned Instagram has launched a “keyword moderation tool” which will let its users hide comments containing words they have blacklisted as such. Instagram says that its other features like deleting comments, reporting inappropriate comments and blocking accounts are already in place. At last count, Instagram claimed to have 500 million monthly active users.
Ironically enough, the company is aware that is user base is diverse, “but sometimes the comments on their posts can be unkind… To empower each individual, we need to promote a culture where everyone feels safe to be themselves without criticism or harassment.”
Facebook’s algorithmic failures
Instagram’s problem is not unique. It faces the same issues as any other platform including its parent Facebook which recently could not decipher the difference between a ‘historically important’ image of a naked child fleeing a napalm attack and its community standards which do not allow posting images of nude children. The image, along with the post, was reinstated after much criticism. Espen Egil Hansen, the editor-in-chief and CEO of Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten was, then, right about calling Mark Zuckerberg the most powerful editor in the world. Albeit without having any editorial background whatsoever. This is also a good time to differentiate between a user generated content platform and the media, although the line is diminishing fast. Look at Facebook’s content policies here.
Facebook has also been accused of downgrading conservative news in its Trending Topics module, something Facebook has denied, but also shut down its Trending Topics editorial team. The more Facebook automates its content(more here and here), the more issues there are likely to crop up. If there was ever a time to discuss the limitations of algorithm driven image and text (and context) detection, now would be a good time to do it.