Instagram Tweaking Algorithm After Being Accused of Censoring Palestinians 

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Instagram will start to rank original and re-shared content equally. 

Facebook has been used as a way to communicate with other groups. During the Arab Spring in 2011, Facebook had become a tremendous help for activists. 

However, when the Palestinian-Israeli conflict started, Arab and Muslim users were cynical of the platform. 

Many pro-Palestinian posts were censored. 

For instance, when you liked a post from the Gaza Now news outlet, you would see a pop-up message that stated you need to review the source to see the kind of content it shares. 

And if you have liked Israeli news pages, you wouldn’t see a similar message. 

Furthermore, some ads from Muslim organizations with harmless content were suspended by both human moderators and FB’s AI. 

Thus, many deduced that Facebook’s system was prejudiced against Arabic content. 

Suppressing Stories of Topics 

Instagram’s spokesperson said that how its system worked caused people to believe that the company is suppressing stories about specific topics or points of view. 

The company said that it’s not the case. Its algorithm applies to any post regardless of what the story is all about. 

Facebook stated: 

“We know there have been several issues that have impacted people’s ability to share on our apps. We’re sorry to anyone who felt they couldn’t bring attention to important events, or who felt this was a deliberate suppression of their voice. This was never our intention, nor do we ever want to silence a particular community or point of view.” – Financial Times

Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook were attacked over the past several weeks on how they censor some content about the conflict between Israeli and Palestine. 

For instance, Twitter restricted a Palestinian writer’s account. But Twitter said that it was just an error. 


Technical Bug

On May 6, many users couldn’t post pro-Palestinian content for several hours on Instagram. Instagram apologized and explained that it was just a technical bug

The photo-sharing social media app said that it has heard from users that they want to see more original stories than reshaped photos and posts. 

For that reason, Instagram prioritized original stories. However, an increase in how people reshare posts, and the company saw a significant effect on the reach of those posts. 

Although Instagram has decided to rank original and re-shared content equally, Instagram still believes that its users want to see more original stories than reshares. That said, it is finding ways on how to focus stories on original content using new tools. 

The bias against Arabs and Muslims has impacted Facebook and Instagram. Both apps received negative ratings on App Store and Google Play Store. 

Facebook admitted that it has made mistakes and noted that its team is monitoring the situation.

Unfortunately, this change may not resolve every issue about alleged censorship. 

Users said that Facebook is flagging posts containing martyr and resistance. The company flagged them because they might incite violence, even though the content was innocuous. 

Then again, the tweak could still provide a significant effect on the Stories that you see on Instagram.


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Author: Jane Danes

Jane has a lifelong passion for writing. As a blogger, she loves writing breaking technology news and top headlines about gadgets, content marketing and online entrepreneurship and all things about social media. She also has a slight addiction to pizza and coffee.

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