Weeks ago, Instagram launched a feature to flag fake photos on the platform to stop the spread of misinformation and fake news. However, it seems that the tool has gone a little too far.
New feature should arrive in selected countries first
The point is that now all images modified with programs like Photoshop are being hidden and flagged as "false information". This can have implications for all Instagram users, and especially for artists who use social networking to promote their digital artwork and composite images.
We have the example of American photographer Toby Harriman, who saw the tool in action for the first time recently. According to his account, he was browsing the feed and saw a hidden image with a warning signaling "false information". When he clicked to view the image, it was actually a digital art depicting a man standing on mountains edited with rainbow colors. The author was from the MIX Society profile.
Another point is that upon entering the MIX Society profile, the photo in question appears visible along with the others. However, the message “false information” is displayed by clicking on it. The images below best illustrate the case:
"As much as I like this feature to help differentiate a real image from an edited one, I also have a huge respect for digital art and I don't want to have to click through different barriers to see them." – Toby Harriman.
The situation has "pros" and cons. You can unhide the photos if you want to see them, but these images are removed from the Explore and Hashtag pages – which makes publications hard to reach. In addition, they are automatically flagged for future posts.
The Instagram community is a little concerned about digital art signage and artistic montages by the Instagram fact checker. However, some other MIX Society photos can still be viewed normally, even though they have obviously been modified in Photoshop, and follow a pattern.
The difference between the color mountain image and the others is that they have the hashtag #conceptart, which clearly indicates that they have been edited, or there are direct mentions and credits to the artist. In the case of the colorful mountain photo, this is not present.
So it's interesting to be explicit that publications are about art and purposeful montage if you don't want your photos to be caught by this feature. At least until Instagram makes an official statement or improves the algorithm.