The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is triggering a reaction worldwide and everywhere on social networks. An internal controversy has just broken out on Instagram. A group of employees protested that some pro-Palestinian content was not visible on the platform. Automated moderation is particularly implied for certain content that has been erroneously deleted.
In response to these complaints and beyond, Instagram decided to review the functioning of its algorithm. The latter have so far presented the original stories posted by a user and not the proportions of other publications. In some cases, this indicated that the social network was censoring certain views and thoughts.
Moderating political discussions is not easy
“We want to be very clear: this is not the case,” a spokesman told The Verge. Therefore, Instagram will review its algorithm to increase the impact of sharing and improve the experience on the platform.
Remember, this is not the first controversy that has hit web giants over this conflict. To take just one example, Twitter had severely curtailed the activity of a Palestinian writer’s account before it was later labeled a bug.
As we have not seen in the past, moderating platforms that reach millions of users is never easy in the event of a major political crisis. Social networks can be criticized for censoring too much or, on the contrary, doing too little.
You are also forced to make certain decisions in a hurry. This is what Facebook in particular did after the US presidential election last November. In order to counteract the many disinformation operations by Donald Trump and his supporters, the platform had started to revise its algorithm.
This had led to an improvement in the visibility of the supposedly reliable mainstream media such as CNN, The New York Times or NPR. On the flip side, the publications of Breitbart, a far right, and Occupy Democrat, which is left on the American political spectrum, received much less prominence. While these changes weren’t permanent, they paid off as Facebook has become calmer and less confrontational than it used to be.