In an effort to combat misinformation and fake news, Instagram recently rolled out a new feature that flags fake photos. But now some photographers are wondering whether the system is going too far and making it harder to share and view certain types of photography.
San Francisco-based photographer Toby Harriman was scrolling through his main Instagram feed a few days ago when he saw the “False Information” warning pop up for the first time.
After clicking through the overlay hiding the post, Harriman found that it was simply a photo of a man standing on rainbow-colored mountains.
“Looks like Instagram x Facebook will start tagging false photos/digital art,” Harriman writes.
Instagram has said that the system uses “a combination of feedback from our community and technology” to identify which photos to pass onto third-party independent fact-checkers. If those fact-checkers determine that a photo is fake, it’s hidden behind a warning message before anyone can view it.
What’s more, “fake” photos are also removed from Explore and Hashtag pages and automatically flagged in future posts.
“Interesting to see this and curious if it’s a bit too far,” Harriman continues. “As much as I do love it to help better associate real vs Photoshop. I also have a huge respect for digital art and don’t want to have to click through barriers to see it.”