Instagram's Latest Update Is Set To Be A Problem For The Kardashians And Digital Artists Alike

The Kardashians could be in trouble

It's part of their attempt to stem the tide of misinformation on social media...

First Instagram hid likes, then the platform announced stricter measures on posts related to weight loss products and cosmetic surgery and now it's continued battle against fake news, Instagram is reportedly introducing a new function, to hide images that may be Photoshopped or doctored. According to TechRadar, fact-checkers on the platform are scouring for images that might be digitally altered and flagging them as "false information". 

This is, at least, what happened to the photographer, Toby Harriman, from San Francisco, came across a hidden image on his feed but found out it was just a photo of a man standing on rainbow-coloured mountains. “Looks like Instagram x Facebook will start tagging false photos/digital art,” the photographer wrote in a Facebook post.

Facebook includes the new function as part of an attempt to stem the tide of misinformation on social media, but whether it affects the posting of digitally altered art, enhanced images, and even memes, remains to be seen.

According to Instagram, the app determines the authenticity of an image using “a combination of feedback from our community and technology.” The photo is then passed on to third-party independent fact-checkers. If the image is deemed fake, the “False Information” warning message will be placed on the image. These “fake” photos will also be removed from Instagram’s Explore and Hashtag pages and will be automatically flagged in future posts.

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While this may be a helpful tool to fight misinformation, it could result in the censorship of digital art. As Harriman pointed out in his post, this could be a huge hindrance for digital artists and potentially damage their livelihood:

I also have a huge respect for digital art and don't want to have to click through barriers to see it.

While the update could be problematic for digital artists, it could also bring major benefits to the platform. A 2018 study showed that “exposure to idealised Instagram images (attractive peers, celebrities) has a detrimental impact on body image”. Pair that with the constant fluctuation of celebrities (read: The Kardashians) photoshopping their images to make their waists appear slimmer, their eyes to be a different colour and sometimes even to grow a third leg, the effects are bound to intensify.

Main image by @kourtneykardasian on Instagram

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