Tag Archives: Instagram

Instagram Changes Its Ranking System to Highlight Original Content



Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, tweeted about new features. “We’ve added new ways to tag and improve ranking: Product Tags, Enhanced Tags, Ranking for originality. Creators are so important to the future of Instagram, and we want to make sure that they are successful and get all the credit they deserve.”

TechCrunch reported that shortly after that announcement, a spokesperson from Instagram sent an email saying that Instagram is making changes to its ranking algorithm to prioritize the distribution of original content, rather than reposted content, in places like the Reels tab and feed.

The Verge reported that product tags are now available to everyone on Instagram, and you can assign yourself to a category like “Photographer” or “Rapper” and have that category show up every time you’re tagged in a post. Instagram is also going to start more heavily promoting original content on the platform.

The Verge also suggested that this is Instagram’s way of saying “Please, please, please stop just posting your favorite TikTok’s to Reels. We’re begging you.”

Engadget reported that the move to prioritize original content comes as Instagram has taken other steps to incentivize creators to post original content on its platform first, rather than re-sharing clips from TikTok and other apps. According to Engadget, the change seems to be geared toward discouraging accounts that simply aggregate and distribute popular memes and other re-posted content.

In addition, Engadget pointed out that those who don’t like Instagram’s ranked feed have an alternative now. Instagram brought back its chronological feed, but it is not enabled by default.

This news comes at a really good time for me, personally. I was in the process of deleting my Instagram account, photo by photo. The process is tedious and time consuming, and you can only delete one photo (or video) at a time. I noticed I had a lot of art on there and decided to make my account a showcase for my art and changed the name on my account to reflect that.

People who create original content and post it on Instagram should get credit for their work. It has always bothered me when accounts on social media content-scrape other people’s original content and try to pass it off as their own. I am happily surprised that Instagram is going in a direction that protects artists and their content.


Meta Backtracks On Allowing Violent Threats to Russian Soldiers



CNBC reported on March 14, 2022, that Meta has backtracked on their terrible decision. According to CNBC, Meta Platforms clarified that users cannot make posts calling for the assassination of Russia’s president Vladimir Putin or other heads of state.

Meta (parent company of Facebook) also said that a previously reported temporary easing of its hate speech policy now only applies to allowing posts by users in Ukraine. Originally, it allowed temporary easing of hate speech restrictions to several other countries.

CNBC also reported about an internal post on Sunday, written by Meta President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg. He wrote that the company is “now narrowing its focus to make explicitly clear in the guidance that it is never to be interpreted as condoning violence against Russian’s in general.” Nick Clegg added, “We do not permit calls to assassinate a head of state.”

The recent statements from Nick Clegg contradict what has previously been reported by Reuters. Recently, Meta chose to allow Facebook and Instagram users in some countries to call for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers in the context of the Ukraine invasion. Meta even gave users a template sentence to use: ‘death to the Russian invaders’.

Reuters reported that Meta was also allowing some users to post calls for death to Russian President Putin or Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (according to internal emails to its content moderators).

Meta also has another significant problem. Nick Clegg tweeted: “Responding to reports that the Russian government is considering designating Meta as an extremist organization for its policies in support of speech:” The tweet includes a screenshot of a letter-length statement from Nick Clegg. In my opinion, feels like a desperate attempt to convince people that Meta didn’t mean what it said regarding its own hate speech policy.

The tweet was posted after Reuters reported that Russian prosecutors asked a court to designate Meta Platforms as an “extremist organization,” and the communications regulator said it would restrict access to Meta’s Instagram starting March 14. (Russia had previously blocked Facebook).


Russia Asks Court to Declare Meta an “Extremist Organization”



Yesterday, Meta Platforms (the parent company of Facebook) chose to allow Facebook and Instagram users in some countries to call for violence against Russian and Russian soldiers in the context of the Ukraine invasion. Meta even provided an example sentence that it would allow: “death to the Russian invaders”. Reuters reported Meta was temporarily allowing users to post calls for death to Russian President Vladimir Putin or Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

At the time, the temporary policy (that allowed some users to break Meta’s hate speech policy) was for users in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, and Ukraine.

Today, Reuters reported that Russian prosecutors asked a court to designate Meta Platforms as an “extremist organization,” and the communications regulator said it would restrict access to Meta’s Instagram starting March 14. The company said the decision would affect 80 million users in Russia.

The Verge reported that one week after placing a ban on Facebook in Russia, the country’s communication agency Roskomandzor announced it will ban Instagram, too.

According to The Verge, the Facebook ban cited “discrimination against Russian media”. The Instagram ban is happening because of a decision by parent company Meta directing moderators to allow posts calling for violence against Russian soldiers if they originate from certain countries, including Ukraine.

Interestingly, Russia decided not to block WhatsApp (which is also owned by Meta). Reuters reported that Russia’s RIA News agency cited a source saying the messaging app is considered a means of communication, not a way to post information.

Personally, I am not at all surprised that Meta’s decision to temporarily ignore its policy against hate speech and violence is being remarked upon by Russia. It is never a good idea to encourage anyone to post hate speech and/or violence online, and Meta is a large enough company that it should have known better.


Meta Allows Ukraine War Posts Urging Violence Against Invading Russians



Reuters reported that Meta Platforms (the parent company of Facebook) will allow Facebook and Instagram users in some countries to call for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers in the context of the Ukraine invasion. Reuters clarifies that this is a temporary change to Meta’s hate speech policy.

According to Reuters, the social media company is also temporarily allowing some posts that call for death to Russian President Vladimir Putin or Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, according to internal emails to its content moderators.

A Meta spokesperson gave the following statement to Reuters:

“As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine we have temporarily made allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules like violent speech such as ‘death to the Russian invaders.’ We still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians.”

It sound like Meta has provided a template sentence for people to use without facing any consequences.

Reuters reported that the calls for leaders’ deaths will be allowed unless they contain other targets or have two indicators of credibility, such as the location or method. This temporary policy change on calls for violence to Russian soldiers apply to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, and Ukraine.

On February 28, President of Global Affairs at Meta, tweeted: “We have received from a number of Governments and the EU to take further steps in retaliation to Russian state controlled media. Given the exceptional nature of the current situation we will be restricting access to RT and Sputnik across the EU at this time.”

On March 3, Meta announced that they were committing $15 million to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine and neighboring countries. It includes $5 million in direct donations to UN agencies and more than a dozen nonprofits, including International Medical Corps who will be using these funds to deploy mobile medical units to Ukraine and Internews to support at-risk journalists and human rights defenders. They are also donating to UNICEF to support children and families in Ukraine.

It would have been better if Meta focused on those two things, and stopped there.

What will Meta do when, sometime in the future, another war starts? Will their hate speech policy be temporarily ignored again? Meta cannot offer a healthy community while it is looking the other way when people post death threats.


Instagram Asks Users to Make Second Accounts



How long ago did you make your Instagram account? Is it something you still enjoy using? If not, you might consider making a second Instagram account. According to the Wall Street Journal, Instagram is allowing users to make a second account.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Instagram has quietly rolled out a pop-up over the past year that encourages users to “try a new account”. The notice says it will help people “keep up with a smaller group of friends” and explore their interests more easily.

Users get a choice of whether to link accounts – treating the second account as an extension of their first, like a new viewer profile in Netflix – or as a totally separate account with its own login, said Christine Pai, a spokesperson for Instagram’s parent, Meta Platforms, Inc. That determines whether Instagram considers this to be one active user or multiple. If the two accounts aren’t linked, a user can delete one with no impact on the other.

In my opinion, the option to make a second Instagram account might be beneficial for people who followed a bunch of accounts that they are no longer are interested in. That could mean accounts from brands and stores they no longer shop at. The option of making a new account could be useful for “influencers” who want some privacy.

In addition, teens who followed a lot of people upon joining Instagram might want a second account that they can start over with. It would give them the opportunity to be more selective about who they want to follow – and could help them avoid bullying. A person who realizes they are transgender, and who is now “out”, might want a new account that reflects the person they are today.


Facebook and Instagram down, seemingly worldwide



This is a breaking story so we’ll provide updates as they become available.

As of this writing, both Facebook and Instagram are down, at least here within the United States. We are also receiving reports of an outage in Europe. Oddly enough, the website IsItDownRightNow also seems to be experiencing problems making information harder to come by.

Right now, all information is coming in from Twitter.

While we have no reason to think this anything out of the ordinary, we should mention that there was a perhaps controversial release of information regarding the Facebook platform reported on 60 Minutes last night and it certainly has some people talking today.

Continue to check back for new information.

UPDATE 1: While the service IsItDownRightNow is running fine again (seems to have just been a short glitch), Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp remain completely down

UPDATE 2: Per @TheInsiderPaper “Facebook’s DNS problem is actually affecting the internet. DNS providers are being hammered with queries.”

The service has been communicating with users via Twitter. There are also rumors that internal systems are down and that workers are communicating with one another via Outlook email.

UPDATE 3: Facebook is back up, but rolling out to users slowly.


Facebook Denies Instagram is “Toxic for Teens”



Facebook denies claims made by The Wall Street Journal about Instagram being “toxic for teen girls”. In its Newsroom, Facebook posted the following claims:

  •  Contrary to the Wall Street Journal’s characterization, Instagram’s research shows that on 11 of 12 well-being issues, teenage girls who said they struggled with those difficult issues also said that Instagram made them better rather than worse.
  •  This research, like external research on these issues, found teens report having both positive and negative experiences with social media.
  • We do internal research to find out how we can best improve the experience for our teens, and our research has informed product changes as well as new resources.

CNBC reported that Facebook executive Antigone Davis, global head of safety, will testify before the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection on September 30, 2021. The hearing focuses on The Wall Street Journal’s article that shows Instagram had a negative effect on many teen girls’ mental health.

Personally, it sounds to me like Facebook got caught, and is trying to salvage its reputation before the Senate subcommittee hearing begins.

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article titled: “Facebook Knows Instagram Is Toxic for Teen Girls, Company Documents Show”. According to The Verge, that information came from leaked documents that had been leaked to The Wall Street Journal.

The Verge pointed out some of what The Wall Street Journal’s findings:

  • A study by Facebook of teen Instagram users in the US and UK found that more than 40% of those who reported feeling “unattractive” said the feelings started when using Instagram.
  • Research reviewed by Facebook’s top executives concluded that Instagram was engineered towards greater “social comparison” than rival apps like TikTok and Snapchat. TikTok is focused on performance and Snapchat is uses jokey filters that focus on the face. Instagram spotlights users’ bodies and lifestyles.
  •  “Teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression,” said internal research by Facebook presented in 2019, and that “This reaction was unprompted and consistent across all groups”.
  • Facebook found that among the teens who said they had suicidal thoughts, 13 percent of UK users and 6 percent of US users said these impulses could be tracked back to the app.